Legislatures and the use of proxies



(001) The rules of some assemblies presently forbid proxy voting.


(002) For example, in both houses of the U.S. Congress, as well as in most if not all state legislatures, each member must be present and cast his own vote for that vote to be counted.


(003) This can result, however, in the absence of a quorum and the need to compel attendance by a sufficient number of missing members to get a quorum.


(004) Proxy voting is sometimes described as "the frequency with which spouses, union workers, and friends of friends are in effect sent off to the polls with an assignment to complete."


(005) The potential for proxy voting exists in roughly one voter out of five, and it is about twice as high at the middle levels of the sophistication continuum.


(006) According to W. Russell Neuman, the net effect of the cues provided by friends and associates is not likely to be as significant as those of the political parties.


(007) The possibility of expanded use of proxy voting has been the subject of much speculation.


(008) Terry F. Buss et al. write that internet voting would result in de facto approval of proxy voting, since passwords could be shared with others: "Obviously, cost-benefit calculations around the act of voting could also change substantially as organizations attempt to identify and provide inducements to control proxy votes without violating vote-buying prohibitions in the law."


(009) One of the criticisms of proxy voting is that it carries a risk of fraud or intimidation.


(010) Another criticism is that it violates the concept of a secret ballot, in that paperwork may be filed, for instance, designating a party worker as one's proxy.