In the US House of Representative, when a vote by Yeas and Nays is ordered, it is usually announced with a time limit (ex. "this is a fifteen minute vote"). However, voting often continues beyond this time limit, sometimes to nearly double the time limit.

Why does the voting continue far beyond this time limit?

1 Answer 1


Why does the voting continue far beyond this time limit?

Emboldened is quoted text, below.

House Voting Procedures: Forms and Requirements, Updated February 6, 2019, p 3.

Length of Time for Voting

Under Rule XX, clause 2(a), the minimum time for a vote by electronic device is 15 minutes in either the House or the Committee of the Whole. The 15-minute period is the minimum time allowed, rather than the maximum, for the conduct of a recorded vote. The chair has the discretion to hold the vote open longer.

The voting period for some votes may be shorter than 15 minutes under certain circumstances. The Speaker may reduce the voting time to not less than five minutes (Rule XX, clause 9) “on any question that follows another electronic vote or a report from the Committee of the Whole, if in the discretion of the Speaker Members would be afforded an adequate opportunity to vote.” Certain votes in the Committee of the Whole may also be reduced to not less than two minutes, as noted in Rule XVIII, clause 6.

  • Funny, I was just watching the House impeachment vote and wondered this... due to more republicans having voting at the time, the vote has been quite close, with the lead shifting back and forth. So technically, the chair could stop the vote any time after time is up, coincidentally when the "against" side is ahead?
    – Andy
    Jan 13, 2021 at 21:17
  • @Andy - After the time has elapsed and if voting appears to be complete, the speaker (or speaker pro tempore) will ask if any others wish to vote or to change their vote. Failing a response, the voting is closed. This is when the discretion is applied.
    – Rick Smith
    Jan 13, 2021 at 21:29

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