In the UK, Members of Parliament vote on things by shouting either ‘aye’ or ‘no’, and when the winner is not clear it will go to division. I understand the US takes a lot of cues from Parliamentary procedure, but I was just watching the House Judiciary Committee vote on Articles of Impeachment and I noticed that not everyone replied to the roll call with ‘aye’ or ‘no’:
at 1:12 of that video, Rep. Richmond replies ‘yes’;
at 2:30, Rep. Gohmert replies ‘my vote is no’; and
at 3:08, Rep. Reschenthaler seems to reply ‘nay’ (although in the C-SPAN coverage it is difficult to be sure)
Meanwhile, the tally along the bottom of the screen reads ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
Robert's Rules of Order call for ‘aye’ and ‘no’, whilst the Senate Web site says that it's ‘yea’ and ‘nay’ for roll call votes (which I guess this was an example of) and ‘yea’ and ‘no’ for voice votes. Taking the time to specify different words for the different types of vote suggests there is some importance attached to the specific words used, yet the range of replies in the aforementioned footage suggest that there is flexibility in what is and isn't accepted as a valid vote, and for how buried in superfluity that vote may be (e.g., Rep. Gohmert's response).
So my questions are twofold:
- What is the rule on what is and isn't accepted as a vote in the affirmative/negative?
- What is the strangest thing that has been accepted as a valid vote? (a la this possibly-fictious article about a EU election ballot with ‘wank’ beside all but one candidate being accepted as a vote for the sole candidate with ‘not wank’ next to their name)