Casting vote


Casting vote

A casting vote is a vote given to the presiding officer of a council or legislative body in order to resolve a deadlock and which can be exercised "only" when such a deadlock exists. Examples of officers who hold casting votes are the Speaker of the British House of Commons and the Vice President of the United States (in his constitutional capacity as President of the Senate).

In some legislatures, a casting vote may be exercised however the presiding officer wishes. An example is the Vice President of the United States, who may exercise his casting vote in the Senate according to his party affiliation or according to his own personal beliefs. By virtue of the Vice President's casting vote, when the Senate as elected is equally divided between two parties, the Vice President's party automatically becomes the official majority party in the Senate. The exercise of the Vice President's casting vote has become increasingly rare throughout American history as the size of the Senate has grown from 26 to 100 and ties have become less probable.

In some other legislatures, by contrast, a casting vote can only be exercised according to strict rules or conventions. For example, the Speaker of the British House of Commons is expected to vote to allow further discussion, if this is possible, and otherwise to vote against the proposal concerned.

Some countries have abandoned the concept of a casting vote. For example, the Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives formerly held a casting vote similar that of the Speaker of the British House of Commons. Today, however, the Speaker simply votes as an ordinary member, and since an outright majority is necessary for a bill to pass, a tie is considered to be a defeat.

Casting vote at elections

At one time, in United Kingdom parliamentary elections, the Returning officer (if an elector in the constituency) was allowed to give an additional casting vote to decide the election if there was a tie between two or more candidates. An example of this power being used was in the Bandon by-election of 22 July 1831. This type of casting vote does not now exist, as modern electoral ties in the United Kingdom are broken by drawing lots by rolling a die.

ee also

United States Vice Presidents' tie-breaking votes


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  • Casting vote — Casting Cast ing, n. 1. The act of one who casts or throws, as in fishing. [1913 Webster] 2. The act or process of making casts or impressions, or of shaping metal or plaster in a mold; the act or the process of pouring molten metal into a mold.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Casting vote — Vote Vote, n. [L. votum a vow, wish, will, fr. vovere, votum, to vow: cf. F. vote. See {Vow}.] [1913 Webster] 1. An ardent wish or desire; a vow; a prayer. [Obs.] Massinger. [1913 Webster] 2. A wish, choice, or opinion, of a person or a body of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • casting vote — ➔ vote2 * * * casting vote UK US noun [S] ► MEETINGS a single vote by the person in charge of a meeting, which is used to decide a question if the number of votes on each side is equal: »If there is a tie in the final round between the top two… …   Financial and business terms

  • casting vote — casting votes N COUNT: usu sing When a committee has given an equal number of votes for and against a proposal, the chairperson can give a casting vote. This vote decides whether or not the proposal will be passed. The vote was tied and a local… …   English dictionary

  • casting vote — noun count the vote that gives one group a majority when the other votes are equally divided. The person in charge of a committee, for example, often has the right to give a casting vote …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • casting vote — The casting vote is a vote given to a chairman or president that is used when there is a deadlock …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • casting vote — or casting voice n. the deciding vote cast by the presiding officer when the voting on both sides is equal …   English World dictionary

  • casting vote — casting .vote n [C usually singular] BrE the vote of the person in charge of a meeting, which can be used to make a decision when there is an equal number of votes supporting and opposing a proposal …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • casting vote — ► NOUN ▪ an extra vote used by a chairperson to decide an issue when votes on each side are equal. ORIGIN from an obsolete sense of cast «turn the scale» …   English terms dictionary

  • casting vote — noun the deciding vote cast by the presiding officer to resolve a tie • Hypernyms: ↑vote, ↑ballot, ↑voting, ↑balloting * * * ˌcasting ˈvote noun usually singular the vote given by the person in charge of an official meeting to decide an …   Useful english dictionary


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