- Roll call
Roll call is the calling of the names of people from a list (
roll) to determine the presence or absence of the listed people (also known as a register in countries such as the UK). The term applies to the calling itself, to the time moment of this procedure, and to a military signal that announces it (e.g. by a drum).
Roll calls are used in places such as
classrooms, the military, prisons, law enforcement, and camps.
In traditions of some schools, the term Roll Call refers to a general assembly for various daily announcements; see for example the traditions of the
The Roll Call of Honor is a ceremonial roll call of honorably fallen people or a list of these people.
Both houses of the
United States Congressare given broad latitude to establish their own rules under Article One of the United States Constitution. No court has ever challenged this occasionally controversial practice by striking down a law passed without the physical presence of a majority of senators in the chamber at the time of passage, although there have been attempts to challenge some acts on this ground, such as the Palm Sunday Compromisein the case of Terri Schiavo.
In the 20th century, electrical devices were installed that permit most quorum calls in either house to be taken automatically. The
Speaker of the Houseor the President pro tem of the Senatemay direct the clerk to use an oral roll call.
By the standing rules of the
United States Senate, the quorummay be established by a roll call ( quorum call) only and not by any other method, such as a head count. Any senator may demand a roll call at any moment to establish the quorum. Once the call is performed the quorum is assumed to be present until a senator suggests otherwise. This practice enables the Senate to engage in debate and conduct less controversial business without requiring the physical presence of fifty-one senators in the chamber.
House of Representatives
The House allows for a quorum call, which is effectively the same as a roll call. The Speaker of the House can direct a vote or quorum to be taken by "tellers", who are assistants of the Clerk. In this case Members will come to the front of the Chamber to have their votes recorded manually by a teller. The history of 200 years of parliamentary procedural rulings governs arcane rules surrounding the recording of votes or quorums by tellers.
The Constitution does not provide for the replacement of members of the House due to death or catastrophe, thus a failure to establish a quorum is more serious in the House than in the Senate. Members of the Senate may be replaced by appointment by state Governors.
Recorded votein the United States Congress, often called a Roll call vote.
* [http://rules.senate.gov/senaterules/standingrules.txt Standing Rules of the Senate]
* [http://clerk.house.gov/legisAct/legisProc/rules/rule20.html Rules of the House of Representatives]
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