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Yeas and Nays

The “yeas and nays” is a recorded roll call vote of members of the House or Senate.

The term “yeas” refers to votes in favor of the proposal, while “nays” represents votes against it.

This method of voting provides a transparent record of how each legislator voted, allowing constituents to hold their representatives accountable for their decisions.

Origin of “Yeas and Nays”

The U.S. Constitution mandates the recording of the yeas and nays for certain types of votes.

According to Article I, Section 5, the yeas and nays shall be recorded on the demand of one-fifth of those present.

This provision reflects the framers’ commitment to transparency and accountability in legislative decision-making.

The yeas and nays voting method also serves a strategic purpose within the legislative process.

By requiring each member to state their vote publicly, it discourages abstention and forces members to take a stand on potentially contentious issues.

This can also influence legislative tactics and negotiations, as party leaders and whips can use the threat or promise of a recorded vote to persuade members.

Use of “Yeas and Nays” in a sentence

  • During the session, the congressman demanded a vote by yeas and nays on the proposed legislation to provide a clear record of each representative’s stance.
  • The final tally of yeas and nays on the bill revealed a deeply divided legislature, with almost equal support and opposition.
  • Even though the debate was contentious, when the yeas and nays were counted, the motion to increase funding for public education passed overwhelmingly.