The Strategic Use of Legislative Voting Procedures



Legislative votes can be taken by roll call—noting the position of each individual member—or by some form of indication (sitting or standing, shouting yea or nay, etc.)—noting only an aggregate outcome. Cameral rules define one method of voting as the standard operating procedure and how to invoke any alternative voting methods. We develop a series of hypotheses related to position taking to explain why, when procedures would typically lead to a vote taken by indication, legislators choose to vote by roll call—a means that makes it much easier for actors outside the chamber to observe the positions taken by individual legislators and partisan blocs. With data from Argentina and Mexico, we test these hypotheses regarding the strategic choice of vote procedures and their relationship to observed party unity.