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Model UN Voting Procedure

Model UN Voting Procedure

Moving into Voting Procedure

Once the body is satisfied all documents have been thoroughly debated, the committee moves from Formal Debate into Voting Procedure. Voting Procedure is governed by a different ruleset than Formal Debate. By rule, all substantive debate must occur during Formal Debate; no substantive debate occurs during Voting Procedure.

Way to Move into Voting

There are three ways a committee moves into Voting Procedure:

  1. Natural Exhaustion of the Secondary Speaker’s List: when there are no states remaining on the Secondary Speaker’s List, it is assumed all formal debate has concluded, and the committee moves automatically, without a vote, into Voting Procedure.
  2. Motion to Close the Speaker’s List and Exhaustion of the List: Another way a committee can speed up their entrance to Voting Procedure is to move to close the secondary speaker’s list. If this motion passes, no state may add their name to the Speaker’s List.
  3. Motion to Close Debate: Finally, a state may move to close debate. This is a procedural motion and requires 2/3 of the committee to vote in favor. A dais may allow for up to two speakers in favor and two speakers against. Upon passing, the committee moves directly into Voting Procedure.

Rules Governing Voting Procedure

Voting Procedure is governed by a strict set of rules:

  • No lobbying, crosstalk, or substantive debate is permitted.
  • The doors of the chamber or house are sealed. This means that no state may enter or leave the room during Voting Procedure for any reason.
  • All points are still allowed during Voting Procedure.
  • All interactions must take place through the dais. Delegates are not permitted to speak directly to one another.

Call for Pre-Vote Motions

Upon entering Voting Procedure, the chair must call for any motions to be made. There are several important motions that can be made once in Voting Procedure but before the formal vote.

By rule, the last resolution which passes takes precedent. Therefore, the order in which the draft resolutions are voted upon is critical. A Motion to Reorder resets the order in which the body votes on draft resolutions. This motion passes by a simple majority.

There are three qualifications to move to make a draft resolution an important question, of which the draft resolution must satisfy at least one. If the draft resolution 1) deals with matters of international peace or security, 2) makes changes to the budget or finances of the United Nations, or 3) rescinds or grants credentials to a member state, the draft resolution may be deemed an important question by the body. This motion requires a simple majority to pass but requires a super-majority of 2/3 for the draft resolution to pass.

A motion for roll call vote may be made by any delegate and must be automatically accepted by the chair. In the event of a Roll Call vote, delegates are given six possible first responses:

  1. Yes: a substantive vote in the affirmative.
  2. No: a substantive vote against.
  3. Yes, with Rights: a substantive vote in the affirmative that allows the delegate to explain their vote. You may only declare “rights,” if you are voting against your national policy or if you decide to switch your vote from your declared position during committee.
  4. No, with Rights: a substantive vote against that allows the delegate to explain their vote. You may only declare “rights,” if you are voting against your national policy or if you decide to switch your vote from your declared position during committee.
  5. Abstain: Neither a vote in favor nor against. An abstention lowers the total vote count. For example, a draft resolution with a vote of 10 in favor, 5 against, and 99 abstentions passes. Abstention votes are not votes against.
  6. Pass: Upon declaring a pass, the chairperson will continue with roll call vote, passing the delegate that has passed. After all states after have voted, the chairperson will again call on the delegate to vote; however, if you use a pass, you abandon your right to abstain and must vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’

Motion to Divide the Question

The final motion that can be made prior to the formal, substantive vote is the “Motion to Divide the Question.” This motion merits its own section because it is so often improperly used and moderated. A Division of the Question separates a draft resolution into separate units and requires four separate votes.

*If a dais chooses not to reconstitute all passed divisions, each passed section will be considered a separate resolution and will assume all of the preambulatory clauses of the original document.

Post-Vote Motions

After a substantive vote has taken place on a draft resolution the chair will open the floor to motions. In this time, there are two motions that a delegate may raise.

A Motion to Divide the House can only be made if the number of abstain votes could sway the vote. For example, if the vote on a draft resolution was 50 in favor, 60 against, and 15 abstentions, a delegate may move to divide the house. If the motion passes, those who abstained would be forced to vote either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on a document.

Side Note: This would never occur in the United Nations because it is an extreme breach of national sovereignty. This rule is a carryover from Robert’s Rules of Order.

A Motion to Reconsider can only be made by a delegate who voted ‘No’ for a draft resolution that fails. If this motion carries, the committee would re-vote on the draft resolution. A Motion to Reconsider can only be made in an attempt to pass a draft resolution, never to try to make it fail.


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