There are two types of votes taken in committee;
- Procedural Matter is when votes are taken for procedure. This includes approving a caucus, setting an agenda, suspending the meeting, changing the speakers time or otherwise. You may not abstain from procedural matters.
- Substantive Matter is when votes are taken for documents. This include the approval of resolutions, reports, and amendments. This also means you can only vote for substantive matter in voting bloc. Observers are not allowed to vote on Substantive Matter.
When voting on substantive matter in voting bloc, you can choose ‘yes’, ‘no,’ or ‘abstain’ (only if you said ‘Present’ during Roll Call). You may also say ‘pass’ if you want the dais to hear from everyone else first, but you must make your decision the second time.
There are multiple types of voting; each needs to be motioned for, though the default is usually roll call vote.
In voting bloc, the doors are locked, and in most conferences, speeches and caucus will not be entertained. This also means that anyone who is not in the room at the time of voting bloc cannot vote, and once you leave, you may not return. Do note that you only need a simple majority to pass a resolution. If you cannot get everyone, don’t worry (though it displays your diplomatic skills if you can!). Clap if your paper passes, stare at your feet if it doesn’t.
- Vote by Acclimation
- In this method, the dais asks if there are any rejections or abstentions from the body. If there are none, the document passes. If there are, a roll call vote will immediately follow.
- Vote by Placard
- (Not all conferences do this) In a Vote by Placard, all members of the body will raise their placard when asked if they support, reject, or abstain from a document. The Dais will visually count the votes in favor, against, or abstained.
- Vote by Roll Call
- In this method, the dais will call out each Member State, who will answer with ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘abstain’, or ‘skip’. If Vote by Roll Call is being used in a large committee (e.g. 193 members of General Assembly), it may take a long time.
Division of the Question
When there is a long or controversial resolution/report segment, Division of the Question may be used. A delegate may motion for it, which will require the body to approve it. If successful, the body may choose to vote on half of a resolution, or on everything but a single clause (the source of controversy, and likely to fail). Division of the Question typically means a resolution/report segment will undergo two votes, though a document can be split into more sections (and more votes). This enables committees to approve of papers even if some clauses may be controversial.