With an electronic vote, the exact voting figures are displayed on screens in the room. This system is useful for votes which are contested and absolute majority voting (half plus one of the total number of members). It is indispensable for qualified majority voting (a specific majority, for example, two thirds of votes). The type of majority depends on the kind of decision and the subject of the vote. Even with electronic voting, anonymity is preserved and it isn't possible to know how each MEP voted. The vote of each MEP is only registered in the minutes when there is a roll-call ballot. The term comes from the era when the president called on each deputy by name to give their vote. The president would say "Mr Smith" and Mr Smith would get up and give his yea or nay. You can imagine how long this system of voting would take with 736 MEPs. Electronic voting allows us to avoid never-ending sessions. MEPs may also vote via a secret ballot, by placing their voting paper into a ballot box. In principle, this type of vote is reserved for nominations. But all votes may be conducted in secret if at least one-fifth of the MEPs so request. The count of ballots is made by two to six tellers chosen by lot from the MEPs.
Rule 166 : Final vote When voting on any legislative proposal, whether by way of a single and/or final vote, Parliament shall vote by roll call using the electronic voting system.
- In addition to the cases provided for under Rules 106(4), 107(5) and 166, the vote shall be taken by roll call if so requested in writing by a political group or at least forty Members the evening before the vote unless the President sets a different deadline.
- The roll call vote shall be taken using the electronic voting system. Where the latter cannot be used for technical reasons, the roll shall be called in alphabetical order, beginning with the name of a Member drawn by lot. The President shall be the last to be called to vote.
Voting shall be by word of mouth and shall be expressed by "Yes", "No", or "I abstain". In calculating whether a motion has been adopted or rejected account shall be taken only of votes cast for and against. The President shall establish the result of the vote and announce it. Votes shall be recorded in the minutes of the sitting by political group in the alphabetical order of Members' names, with an indication of how they voted.
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