House of Commons embraces electronic voting via tablets

The House of Commons has confirmed that every vote that takes place in its chamber will now be recorded on tablets.

MPs voting in divisions under the new ‘English votes for English laws’ procedure have been recorded using tablet devices, rather than pen and paper, since October 2015. This system is now being implemented for all House of Commons divisions.

House of Commons clerks will use custom software on tablets – Surface Pros to be precise – to record the names of those voting. The appointed tellers will continue to manually count MPs as they leave the division lobbies and report the final figures in the Chamber at the end of the division.


Timely publication

An article on the Parliament website says that accurate recording of divisions and timely publication of division lists are critical business activities of the House of Commons. At the moment it takes two to three hours for division lists to appear in rolling Hansard. Tablet recording will allow division data to be made publicly available online much more quickly in the near future.

Commenting in the article, David Natzler, clerk of the House of Commons, said: “We are harnessing modern digital technology to make our work more effective, more efficient and more accessible, while respecting parliamentary conventions and traditions. Using tablet devices to record divisions will enable us in due course to publish the results much faster, meeting demand from the public who naturally want to know how Members have voted.”

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