Assembly Ministers in the Voting Chamber

Assembly Ministers in the Voting Chamber

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Assembly Ministers in the Voting Chamber

Assembly Ministers (AM) in the voting chamber use touch screen
consoles to communicate. If an AM requires further information, they
have access to a researcher who can send electronic information
rapidly. An individual pass card activates the site and switches the
machines on.

The voting chamber is a paperless establishment, by entering an
activating codeword, all information can be seen on the system.
Electronic voting as used in the Welsh Assembly is easier to track
than a hand count such as used in the House of Commons.

Assembly Ministers can communicate with each other easily. In the
house of commons for example, notes are written and passed on by an
usher but in the Welsh Assembly, consoles are used.

The AMs’ all sit in the same seat every time. The speaker has a
monitor which raises up from the front table, he can see the names of
people wishing to speak and he decides the order of who should speak
next. A light then appears in front of the AM allocated to speak and
the microphone is switched on. The microphones pick up sound quite
well.

Verbal speech is given which is then recorded by the proceedings team
so that they can grammatise it. Any Welsh spoken is translated into
English and vice versa and the transcript is available on the Internet
one week later. Other information is available 24 hours after
discussion.

A printout of every member’s votes are posted on the wall outside the
chamber for public viewing but the parties have usually already agreed
on a decision before a vote is cast.

A whole system reboot takes about 30 minutes but one of the advantages
of the electronic system is that it saves time overall. A complete
vote takes about 15 seconds to register in the system and Mr Ray
Jones, Sound Manager organised a mock vote. The argument was “should
school hours be reduced to 1 hour a day?

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