Pelosi Formally Authorizes Remote Voting for House Members for 45 Days

May 21, 2020 Updated: May 21, 2020

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has formally authorized remote voting for a 45-day period for House members due to the CCP virus pandemic.

The authorization comes after the House adopted historic rules changes on May 15 to allow temporary remote voting during the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus pandemic.

Under the adopted H. Res. 965 (pdf), Pelosi can designate a period of remote voting “after receiving a notification from the Sergeant-at-Arms, in consultation with the Attending Physician, that a public health emergency due to a novel coronavirus is in effect,” according to a statement by the House Committee on Rules.

Lawmakers can now vote by proxy by authorizing another colleague to vote on their behalf. Members are still welcome to cast votes in person at the Capitol. No member can hold more than 10 proxies, and a single lawmaker can serve as a proxy for up to 10 other colleagues.

“Electronic submission is sufficient to be able to vote remotely by proxy, but the scanned letter must have an original signature,” the guidelines state.

Members have to submit signed letters to designate the proxies voting on their behalf and email in the letter, as well as send in a hard copy by mail to the House clerk’s office.

The 45-day period begins on May 20 and will last until July. It “can be extended or renewed if the public health emergency persists or there is a resurgence,” according guidelines (pdf) prepared by House majority staff on “Best Practices for Remote Floor Voting.”

The House is expected to vote next week on a bipartisan bill related to changes to the government’s small business loan program—the “Paycheck Protection Program.”

Washington D.C. is under a stay-at-home order until June 8.

The historic rules changes on May 15 also allow House committees to operate completely remotely by holding hearings, markups, depositions, and other business meetings via videoconference. A hybrid approach is also allowed, whereby some members can meet in person while others participate remotely.

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