What happens if they incorrectly count the votes in the House of Representatives or in the Senate?
Thanks for your question, Alex.
During a division, senators and members of the House of Representatives vote on a question, such as 'should be the bill move to the next stage of making it a law'. When a division is called, senators or members usually have 4 minutes to be in position and ready to be counted.
For each division, there are senators or members who count the votes. They are usually the whip and deputy whip from the government and opposition.
In the Senate, the whips stand next to the Clerks’ desk and call the names of the senators voting on each side. The names are marked off by the Clerks on printed division lists. When the lists tally – agree – they are signed by the tellers and the Clerks. The Clerk then passes the lists to the President of the Senate to announce the result.
The House of Representatives records the results of divisions electronically. The whips use tablets and mark off the names of the members. This means that any potential error—such as a member being recorded as voting both ‘yes’ and ‘no’—is caught immediately. It also means the results can be published online very quickly.
Occasionally, counting errors that don’t affect the result are made. These errors are corrected and then signed by the whips.
If there is a mistake or confusion over the division result and it cannot be easily corrected, the Standing Orders – rules of the Senate and House of Representatives – allow for another division to be held.
Party whips counting the votes in a division in the Senate.
A woman and a man stand on either side of the Clerk's table in the Senate. There are people sitting at the central table.
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