In a “Dear Colleagues” letter this Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi alerted members of the extension of proxy voting. Pelosi stated that the voting would be extended through mid-August in the house.
As stated in the article by Roll Call, House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul D. Irving, in consultation with the Office of the Attending Physician, notified Pelosi of the current pandemic. The public health emergency remains to be ongoing.
In the letter, Pelosi wrote, “I am hereby extending the ‘covered period’ designated on May 20, 2020, pursuant to section 1(a) of House Resolution 965, until August 18, 2020.”
This proxy voting period has been implemented on May 20, for 45 days. The extension will allow lawmakers to stay home if they are unsure of traveling to Washington due to this pandemic. They can still stay home and still vote on the House floor as well as participate in the committee meetings.
The article stated that “The historic rules change that allowed for the implementation of a proxy voting period also gave Pelosi the authority to extend the 45-day period or end it nearly based upon future correspondence from the SAA about the status of the public health emergency.”
The process of a proxy vote is lengthy. First, it begins with a letter to the House clerk. It is then followed by an announcement from the designee at the microphone. Another announcement will commence, this time by the clerk representing the absent lawmaker’s position during the voting period. It is only once that the clerk voices the position does it appear on the wall. It will be shown along with the electronic votes of those physically present in the meeting.
Pelosi’s change in proxy voting is described as the most significant update on voting procedures since 1972, wherein the “teller votes” have been eliminated. It also paved the way for the current electronic voting system to happen in 1973.
Though Scores of House Democrats have used the current proxy voting system that was activated in May, Republicans continue to oppose this. The Democrats pushed these rules without Republicans’ support. House Minority Leader McCarthy even called the proxy voting system unconstitutional and blocked it.
The results were Republicans contributing to significant absences. The last vote took place on Friday, on a measure to grant Washington D.C. statehood. 233 Democrats voted, but 19 Republicans did not vote. Just earlier this week, to adjust policing, 14 Republicans did not vote.