Supermajority

A supermajority or supra-majority or a qualified majority, is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for majority.

Related concepts regarding alternatives to the majority vote requirement include a majority of the entire membership and a majority of the fixed membership.

A supermajority can also be specified based on the entire membership or fixed membership rather than on those present and voting.

Parliamentary procedure requires that any action of a deliberative assembly that may alter the rights of a minority has a supermajority requirement, such as a two-thirds vote.

Changes to constitutions, especially those with entrenched clauses, commonly require supermajority support in a legislature.

History

The first known use of a supermajority rule was in the 100s BCE in ancient Rome.[1]

Pope Alexander III introduced the use of supermajority rule for papal elections at the Third Lateran Council in 1179.[2]

In the Democratic Party of the United States, the determination of a presidential nominee once required the votes of two-thirds of delegates to the Democratic National Convention. This rule was adopted in the party's first presidential nominating convention—the 1832 Democratic National Convention.[3] The two-thirds rule gave southern Democrats an effective veto over any presidential nominee for many years, until the rule's abolition at the 1936 Democratic National Convention.[4]

Common supermajorities

A majority vote, or more than half the votes cast, is a common voting basis. Instead of the basis of a majority, a supermajority can be specified using any fraction or percentage which is greater than one-half (i.e., 50%).[5] It can also be called a qualified majority.[6] Common supermajorities include three fifths (60%), two thirds (67%), and three quarters (75%).

Two-thirds vote

A two-thirds vote, when unqualified, means two-thirds or more of the votes cast.[7][8][9] This voting basis is equivalent to the number of votes in favor being at least twice the number of votes against.[10] Abstentions and absences are excluded in calculating a two-thirds vote.[8]

The two-thirds requirement can be qualified to include the entire membership of a body instead of only those present and voting, but such a requirement must be explicitly stated (such as "two-thirds of those members duly elected and sworn").[7] In this case, abstentions and absences count as votes against the proposal.

Alternatively, the voting requirement could be specified as "two-thirds of those present", which has the effect of counting abstentions but not absences as votes against the proposal.[11]

For example, if an organization has 150 members and at a meeting, 30 members are present with 25 votes cast, a "two-thirds vote" would be 17. If the requirement was "two-thirds of those present", that number would be 20. "Two-thirds of the entire membership" would be 100.[12]

Three-fifths, or 60 percent

Another type of supermajority is three-fifths (60 percent). This requirement could also be qualified to include the entire membership or to include those present.

In 2006, the Constitution of Florida was amended to require a 60% majority to pass new constitutional amendments by popular vote.[13]

55 percent

For the Montenegrin independence referendum held in 2006 the European Union envoy Miroslav Lajčák proposed independence if a 55% supermajority of votes are cast in favor with a minimum turnout of 50%. Such procedure, ultimately accepted by the government of Montenegro, was somewhat criticized as overriding the traditional practice of requiring a two-third supermajority, as practiced in all ex Yugoslav countries before (including the previous referendum in Montenegro).

In 2016, the Constitution of Colorado was amended to require a 55% majority to pass new constitutional amendments by popular vote.[14]

Related concepts

Related concepts regarding alternatives to the majority vote requirement include a "majority of the entire membership" and a "majority of the fixed membership".

Majority of the entire membership

A majority of the entire membership is a voting basis that requires that more than half of all the members of a body (including those absent and those present but not voting) vote in favor of a proposition in order for it to be passed.[12] In practical terms, it means an absence or an abstention from voting is equivalent to a "no" vote.[11] It may be contrasted with a majority vote which only requires more than half of those actually voting to approve a proposition for it to be enacted. An absolute majority may also be the same as a majority of the entire membership, although this usage is not consistent.[6][15]

In addition, a supermajority could be specified in this voting basis, such as a vote of "two-thirds of the entire membership".

By way of illustration, in February 2007 the Italian Government fell after it lost a vote in the Italian Senate by 158 votes to 136 (with 24 abstentions). The government needed an absolute majority in the 318 member house but fell two votes short of the required 160 when two of its own supporters abstained.[16]

Majority of the fixed membership

A majority of the fixed membership is based on the total number of the established fixed membership of the deliberative assembly.[12] It is used only when a specific number of seats or memberships is established in the rules governing the organization.

A majority of the fixed membership would be different from a majority of the entire membership if there are vacancies.[12]

For example, say a board has 12 seats. If the board has the maximum number of members, or 12 members, a majority of the entire membership and a majority of the fixed membership would be 7 members. However, if there are two vacancies (so that there are only 10 members on the board), then a majority of the entire membership would be 6 members (more than half of 10), but a majority of the fixed membership would still be 7 members.[12]

It is possible for organizations that use a majority of the fixed membership to be caught in a stalemate if at least half the membership consists of vacancies, making it impossible to perform any actions until those vacancies are filled.[12] The requirement for a minimum number of members to be present in order to conduct business, called a quorum, may be used to avoid such a possibility.

Similar to the voting basis for the entire membership, a supermajority could be specified for this basis, such as a vote of "two-thirds of the fixed membership".

Use in parliamentary procedure

Parliamentary procedure requires that any action that may alter the rights of a minority has a supermajority requirement. Robert's Rules of Order states:[8]

As a compromise between the rights of the individual and the rights of the assembly, the principle has been established that a two-thirds vote is required to adopt any motion that: (a) suspends or modifies a rule of order previously adopted; (b) prevents the introduction of a question for consideration; (c) closes, limits, or extends the limits of debate; (d) closes nominations or the polls, or otherwise limits the freedom of nominating or voting; or (e) takes away membership.

This book also states:[17]

The vote of a majority of the entire membership is frequently an alternative to a requirement of previous notice, and is required in order to rescind and expunge from the minutes (see p. 310). Otherwise, prescribing such a requirement is generally unsatisfactory in an assembly of an ordinary society, since it is likely to be impossible to get a majority of the entire membership even to attend a given meeting, although in certain instances it may be appropriate in conventions or in permanent boards where the members are obligated to attend the meetings.

Use in governments around the world

Canada

In Canada, most constitutional amendments can be passed only if identical resolutions are adopted by the House of Commons, the Senate and two thirds or more of the provincial legislative assemblies representing at least 50 percent of the national population.

Denmark

Article 20 of the Constitution of Denmark states that if the government or parliament wants to cede parts of national sovereignty to an international body such as the European Union or the United Nations, it has to get a five-sixths majority in the Folketing (150 out of 179 seats).[18] If there is only a simple majority, a referendum must be held on the subject.[18]

European Union

Council

The Council of the European Union uses 'Qualified majority voting' for the majority of issues brought before the institution. However, for matters of extreme importance for individual member states, unanimous voting is implemented.[19]

After the accession of Croatia, on 1 July 2013, at least 260 votes out of a total of 352 by at least 15 member states were required for legislation to be adopted by qualified majority.

From 1 July 2013, the pass condition translated into:

  1. At least 15 (or 18, if proposal was not made by the Commission) countries,
  2. At least 260 of the total 352 voting weights,
  3. At least 313.6 million people represented by the states that vote in favour.

Parliament

Requirements to reach an absolute majority is a common feature of voting in the European Parliament (EP) where under the ordinary legislative procedure the EP is required to act by an absolute majority if it is to either amend or reject proposed legislation.[20]

India

Article 368 of the Indian Constitution requires a supermajority of two-thirds of members present and voting in each house of Indian Parliament, subject to at least by a majority of the total membership of each House of Parliament, to amend the constitution. In addition, in matters affecting the states and judiciary, at least two thirds of all the states need to ratify the amendment.

International agreements

The Rome Statute requires a seven-eighths majority of participating states to be amended.

Japan

Amendments to the constitution require a two-thirds majority in both houses of the National Diet and a simple majority in a referendum.[21]

Nigeria

Under the Constitution of Nigeria a two-third majority is required in the National Assembly to alter the Constitution, enact legislation in a few areas, or remove office holders from some positions, such a Speaker. Legislative override or impeachment of the executive at either the state or federal government level also requires a two-thirds majority of the corresponding legislative assembly. [22]

Philippines

Under the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, a two-thirds majority of both houses of the Congress of the Philippines (the House and the Senate) meeting in joint session is required to declare war.[23] A two-thirds majority of both Houses is required to override a presidential veto.[23][24] A two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress voting separately is required to designate the vice president as acting president in the event that a majority of the Cabinet certifies that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" but the president declares that no such inability exists.[23] A two-thirds vote of either chamber is required to suspend or expel a member from that chamber.[23]

Under the 1987 Constitution, "The Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention."[23] A three-fourths vote of all the members of the Congress is required to propose an amendment to the Constitution; the proposed amendment is submitted to the people for ratification (by a majority of the votes cast) in a plebiscite.[23]

A two-thirds majority of the Senate is required to ratify treaties, and to remove an impeached official from office.[23] Impeachment by the House, which is the required first step in the removal process, only requires one-third of Representatives to sign a petition (specifically a verified complaint or resolution of impeachment).[23][25][26]

South Korea

A three-fifths majority of legislators are required for a bill to be put to a vote in the National Assembly to prevent the ruling party passing laws without the support of opposition parties.[27]

Spain

Constitutional reform

The 1978 Constitution states that a three-fifths majority in both Congress of Deputies and Senate of Spain is needed to pass a constitutional reform, but if a two-thirds majority is reached in the Congress of Deputies, an absolute majority of senators is enough to pass the proposal.[28]

Nevertheless, when a new Constitution is proposed or the proposal's goal is to reform the Preliminary Title, the Chapter on Fundamental Rights and Freedoms or the Title on the Crown, the supermajority becomes significantly harder:

  • A supermajority of two-thids must be reached in both Congress of Deputies and Senate.
  • Both chambers must be dissolved.
  • The new elected chambers must approve the proposal by a new two-thirds supermajority.
  • Finally, the proposal is passed by majority in referendum.

The first way has been used twice (1992 and 2011), but the second has been never used.

Other legal procedures

Spanish Constitution states other supermajorities:

  • Members of the General Council of the Judiciary are appointed by the Congress of Deputies and Senate of Spain, and each appointment needs a three-fifths majority.[29]
  • Members of the Constitutional Court are also appointed by both Congress of Deputies and Senate of Spain, and each appointment needs a three-fifths majority.[30]
  • The president of the RTVE, the public radio and television broadcaster, must be elected by two-thirds majority of the Congress of Deputies.[31]

Other legal procedures

Each Spanish Autonomous Community has her own Statute of Autonomy, working like a local constitution that is subject to the 1978 Constitution and national powers.

The Statute of Autonomy of the Canary Islands states that its economic and fiscal regime and electoral law need a two-thirds majority of the Parliament to be modified.[32]

On its behalf, the Ombudsman needs a three-fifths majority to be appointed.

Also, if a two-thirds majority votes against a law project, it must be posposed to the following session.

Taiwan

Before the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China in 2005, the constitution amendments need to be passed by the National Assembly. Since the Additional Articles ratified on June 7, 2005, the National Assembly is replaced by the Legislative Yuan. Amendments of the constitution need to be passed by three quarters of the members of Legislative Yuan, with more than half (50%) of voters hold referendums to approve the amendments.

United Kingdom

The House of Commons (UK) can be dissolved and an election held before the expiry of its 5-year term by a vote of two-thirds of the membership of the House of Commons since 2011 under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011.

This is the only supermajority required in the British Constitution.

However, Parliament can also be dissolved if the House of Commons passes a motion of no-confidence in the government and no new government wins a motion of confidence within two weeks of the original vote of no-confidence.

United Nations

The United Nations Security Council requires a supermajority of the fixed membership on substantive matters (procedural matters require a simple majority of those present and voting). According to Article 27 of the United Nations Charter, at least nine of the Security Council's 15 members (i.e., a three-fifths supermajority) must vote in favor of a draft resolution in order to achieve passage. Specifying the fixed membership has the effect of making abstentions count as votes against—absences are not normal but would be treated the same way.

This is useful for the five permanent members of the Council (the United States, the Russian Federation, China, the United Kingdom, and France) because a vote against from any one of them constitutes a veto, which cannot be overridden. Permanent members who do not support a measure, but are unwilling to be seen to block it against the wishes of the majority of the Council, tend to abstain; abstentions by veto powers are generally seen by close observers of the UN as the equivalent of not vetoing votes against and have the same impact on the decision of the Security Council.

United States

Federal government

The Constitution of the United States requires supermajorities in order for certain significant actions to occur.[33]

Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed in one of two ways: a two-thirds supermajority votes of each house of United States Congress or a convention called by Congress on application of two thirds (currently 34) of the states. Once proposed, the amendment must be ratified by three quarters (currently 38) of the states (either through the State legislatures, or ratification conventions, whichever "mode of ratification" Congress selects).

Congress may pass bills by simple majority votes. If the president vetoes a bill, Congress may override the veto by a two-thirds supermajority of both houses.

A treaty must be ratified by a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to enter into force and effect.

Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives Congress a role to play in the event of a presidential disability. If the vice president and a majority of the president's cabinet declares that the president is unable to serve in that role, the vice president becomes acting president. Within 21 days of such a declaration (or, if Congress is in recess when a president is disabled, 21 days after Congress reconvenes), Congress must vote by two-thirds supermajorities to continue the disability declaration; otherwise, such declaration expires after the 21 days and the president would at that time "resume" discharging all of the powers and duties of the office. While Section 3 of this amendment (in which the president declares that they are unable to discharge the powers and duties of the Presidency) has been invoked three times, Section 4 has yet to be invoked.

The House may, by a simple majority vote, impeach a federal official (such as, but not limited to, the president, vice president, or a federal judge). Removal from office (and optional disqualification from any Federal, State or local office) requires a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate. In 1842, the House failed to impeach president John Tyler. In 1868, the Senate fell one vote short of removing president Andrew Johnson following his impeachment. In 1999, efforts to remove Bill Clinton following his impeachment in 1998 fell just short of a simple majority, and 17 votes short of the two-thirds supermajority. The impeachment procedure was last used in 2010, when Judge Thomas Porteous was removed from office. Each chamber may expel one of its own members by a two-thirds supermajority vote; this last happened when the House expelled James Traficant in 2002.

A two-thirds supermajority in the Senate is 67 out of 100 senators, while a two-thirds supermajority in the House is 290 out of 435 representatives. However, since many votes take place without every seat in the House filled and representative participating, it does not often require 67 senators or 290 representatives to achieve this supermajority.

Apart from these constitutional requirements, a Senate rule (except in cases covered by the nuclear option, or of a rule change) requires an absolute supermajority of three fifths to move to a vote through a cloture motion, which closes debate on a bill or nomination, thus ending a filibuster by a minority of members. In current practice, the mere threat of a filibuster prevents passing almost any measure that has less than three-fifths agreement in the Senate, 60 of the 100 senators if every seat is filled.

State government

For state legislatures in the United States, Mason's Manual says, "A deliberative body cannot by its own act or rule require a two-thirds vote to take any action where the constitution or controlling authority requires only a majority vote. To require a two-thirds vote, for example, to take any action would be to give to any number more than one-third of the members the power to defeat the action and amount to a delegation of the powers of the body to a minority."[34] Some states require a supermajority for passage of a constitutional amendment or statutory initiative.[35]

Many state constitutions allow or require amendments to their own constitutions to be proposed by supermajorities of the state legislature; these amendments must usually be approved by the voters at one or more subsequent elections. Michigan, for instance, allows the Legislature to propose an amendment to the Michigan Constitution; it must then be ratified by the voters at the next general election (unless a special election is called).[36]

In most states, the state legislature may override a governor's veto of legislation. In most states, a two-thirds supermajority of both chambers is required.[37] However, in some states (e.g., Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina), only a three-fifths supermajority is required,[38][39][40] while in West Virginia only a normal majority is needed.

One common provision of so-called "taxpayer bill of rights" laws (either in state statutes or state constitutions) is requirement of a supermajority vote in the state legislature to increase taxes. The National Conference of State Legislatures reported in 2010 that fifteen states required a supermajority vote (either a three-fifths, two-thirds or three-fourths majority vote in both chambers) to pass some or all tax increases.[41]

Supermajority requirements for tax increases have been criticized as "deeply flawed" by a report by the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities because such requirements empower a minority of legislators, making it difficult to close tax loopholes or fund transportation infrastructure, and also may encourage pork-barrel spending as a trade-off to ensure passage of a tax increase (see logrolling).[42]

See also

References

  1. ^ Schwartzberg, Melissa (2013). "Prelude: Acclamation and Aggregation in the Ancient World - The Origin of Supermajority Rules". Counting the Many: The Origins and Limits of Supermajority Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-521-19823-3. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  2. ^ Schwartzberg (2013), pp. 51, 58–59.
  3. ^ Bensel, Richard Franklin (2008). Passion and Preferences: William Jennings Bryan and the 1896 Democratic Convention. Cambridge University Press. p. 131.
  4. ^ Schulman, Bruce J. (1994). From Cotton Belt to Sunbelt: Federal Policy, Economic Development, and the Transformation of the South, 1938–1980. Duke University Press. p. 45..
  5. ^ See dictionary definition of "supermajority" at thefreedictionary.com. "Qualified majority" redirects to this definition.
  6. ^ a b Schermers, Henry G.; Blokker, Niels M. (2011). International Institutional Law: Unity Within Diversity (Fifth Revised ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 561–563. ISBN 978-90-04-18798-6.
  7. ^ a b Robert (2011), p. 402.p
  8. ^ a b c Robert, Henry M.; et al. (2011). Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th ed.). Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. p. 401. ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5..
  9. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 5)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Robert (2011), p. 406.
  11. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions about RONR (Question 6)". The Official Robert's Rules of Order Web Site. The Robert's Rules Association. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Robert (2011), p. 403.
  13. ^ "Florida Amendment 3, Supermajority Vote Required to Approve a Constitutional Amendment (2006) - Ballotpedia".
  14. ^ "Colorado Imposition of Distribution and Supermajority Requirements for Citizen-Initiated Constitutional Amendments, Amendment 71 (2016)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  15. ^ "Absolute majority of members (European Parliament)". EUAbc.com. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  16. ^ Hooper, John (February 22, 2007). "Prodi stands down after surprise defeat in senate over US alliance". The Guardian. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  17. ^ Robert (2011), p. 404.
  18. ^ a b Pedersen, Susannah; Christensen, Jens Peter (November 2015). "03 - Regeringen". Min grundlov - Grundloven med forklaringer (PDF) (13 ed.). Folketingets Kommunikationsenhed. pp. 27–28. ISBN 87-7982-172-3. Til vedtagelse af lovforslag herom kræves et flertal på fem sjettedele af Folketingets medlemmer. Opnås et sådant flertal ikke, men dog det til vedtagelse af almindelige lovforslag nødvendige flertal, og opretholder regeringen forslaget, forelægges det folketingsvælgerne til godkendelse eller forkastelse efter de for folkeafstemninger i §42 fastsatte regler.
  19. ^ "Intergovernmental decision-making procedures - EU fact sheets - European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu.
  20. ^ See Article 294(7) of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union.
  21. ^ "The Constitution of Japan". japan.kantei.go.jp. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  22. ^ "Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria". Nigeria law. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, Official Gazette.
  24. ^ Elliot Bulmer, International IDEA Constitution-Building Primer 14: Presidential Veto Powers Primer, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 2d ed. 2017, p. 14.
  25. ^ Impeachment in the Philippines: Joseph Estrada faces a tough fight to hold on to his presidency, The Economist (November 9, 2000).
  26. ^ Seth Mydans, Philippine Congress Impeaches President on Graft Charges, New York Times (November 14, 2000).
  27. ^ "The Tyranny of the Minority in South Korea". The Diplomat. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  28. ^ "Title X of the Constitution: Constitutional Reform (in Spanish)". Constitución.es. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  29. ^ "Title VI of the Constitution: The Judiciary (in Spanish)". Constitución.es. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  30. ^ "Title IX of the Constitution: The Constitutional Court (in Spanish)". Constitución.es. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  31. ^ "The Congress passes that the president RTVE will be appointed by consensus again (in Spanish)". eldiario.es. Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  32. ^ "Statute of Autonomy of the Canary Islands (in Spanish)" (PDF). Retrieved June 9, 2018.
  33. ^ Hudiburg, Jane A. (July 24, 2018). Supermajority Votes in the House (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
  34. ^ National Conference of State Legislatures (2000). Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure, 2000 ed., p. 353
  35. ^ "Supermajority Vote Requirements". www.ncsl.org. National Conference of State Legislatures. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  36. ^ "Article XII § 1". Constitution of Michigan of 1963. Michigan Legislature. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  37. ^ Shanton, Karen (October 28, 2013). "Wrapup of Veto Overrides in States with Veto-Proof Legislatures and Divided Government". NCSL Blog. National Conference of State Legislatures.
  38. ^ Friedman, Dan (2006). The Maryland State Constitution: A Reference Guide. Reference Guides to the State Constitutions of the United States, No. 41. Praeger. p. 75.
  39. ^ Lousin, Ann M. (2011). The Illinois State Constitution. Oxford Commentaries on the State Constitutions of the United States. Oxford University Press. pp. 119–21.
  40. ^ "North Carolina State Constitution". Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  41. ^ Waisanen, Bert (2010). "State Tax and Expenditure Limits—2010". National Conference of State Legislatures.
  42. ^ Johnson, Nicholas (April 25, 2006). "A Super Bad Idea: Requiring a Two-thirds Legislative Supermajority to Raise Taxes Protects Special Interest Tax Breaks and Gives Budget Veto Power to a Small Minority of Legislators". Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
1932 United States elections

The 1932 United States elections was held on November 8, during the Great Depression. The presidential election coincided with U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and gubernatorial elections in several states. The election marked the end of the Fourth Party System and the start of the Fifth Party System. The election is widely considered to be a realigning election, and the newly established Democratic New Deal coalition experienced much more success than their predecessors had in the Fourth Party System.Democratic New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican incumbent President Herbert Hoover. Roosevelt won in a landslide, and Hoover only won six Northeastern states. Roosevelt's victory was the first by a Democratic candidate since Woodrow Wilson won re-election in 1916. Roosevelt took his party's nomination on the fourth ballot, defeating 1928 nominee Al Smith and Speaker of the House John Nance Garner.

The Republicans suffered massive defeats in both congressional chambers with many seats switching to Democratic control. Democrats gained ninety-seven seats in the House of Representatives, increasing their majority over the Republicans (and achieving a House supermajority). The Democrats also took control of the Senate, gaining twelve seats from the Republicans. Republicans had controlled the chamber since their electoral success in 1918.The election took place after the 1930 United States Census and the subsequent Congressional re-apportionment. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 provided a permanent method of apportioning 435 House seats; previously, Congress had had to pass apportionment legislation after each census.

1934 United States elections

The 1934 United States elections were held on November 6, 1934. The election took place in the middle of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, during the Great Depression. The Democrats built on the Congressional majorities they had won in the previous two elections. In the House of Representatives, Roosevelt's party gained nine seats, mostly from the Republican Party. The Democrats also gained nine seats in the U.S. Senate, thereby winning a supermajority. A Progressive also unseated a Republican in the Senate. This marked the first time since the Civil War that an incumbent president's party gained seats in a midterm election, followed by 1998, 2002 and 2018.The election was perhaps the most successful midterm of the 20th century for the party in control of the presidency. Despite opposition from Republicans, business organizations such as the US Chamber of Commerce, and disaffected Democrats who formed the American Liberty League, Roosevelt's New Deal policies were bolstered and his New Deal coalition was solidified. The election was critical in re-centering the Democratic Party in Northern, urban areas, as opposed to the party's traditional base in the South. Conservative Republicans also suffered major losses across the country. Future president Harry S. Truman won election as Senator from Missouri during this election.

1936 United States elections

The 1936 United States elections was held on November 3. The Democratic Party built on their majorities in both chambers of Congress and maintained control of the presidency.In the presidential election, incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt won re-election, defeating Republican Governor Alf Landon of Kansas. Roosevelt took every state but Vermont and Maine, winning with the fourth largest electoral vote margin in American history. Roosevelt took just under 61 percent of the popular vote, a number that only Lyndon Johnson would surpass (although the popular vote was not officially counted prior to the 1824 election). Landon decisively won his party's nomination over Idaho Senator William Borah.

The Democrats gained twelve seats in the House of Representatives, furthering their supermajority over the Republicans. The Democrats also maintained a supermajority in the Senate, gaining seven seats.

2000 California Proposition 39

Proposition 39 was an initiative state constitutional amendment and statute which appeared on the November 7, 2000, California general election ballot. Proposition 39 passed with 5,431,152 Yes votes, representing 53.4 percent of the total votes cast. Proposition 39 was essentially a milder version of Proposition 26, which would have ended the Proposition 13 supermajority vote requirement altogether (imposing a simple majority vote requirement), but was defeated with 3,521,327 "Yes" votes, representing 48.7 percent of the total votes cast, in the March 7, 2000, California primary election.

2004 California Proposition 56

Proposition 56 was a California ballot proposition on the March 2, 2004 ballot. It failed to pass with 2,185,868 (34.3%) votes in favor and 4,183,188 (65.7%) against. It was intended to penalize the state's elected officials for every day that the state budget is overdue. The proposition would also have lowered the threshold required pass a budget and enact new budget-related taxes to 55% from the two-thirds supermajority vote currently required. (The two-thirds requirement was implemented with the passage of California Proposition 13 in 1978). Prop 56 was officially known as the Budget Accountability Act.

2008–12 California budget crisis

The U.S. state of California had a budget crisis in which it faced a shortfall of at least $11.2 billion, projected to top $40 billion over the 2009–2010 fiscal years.

80th Oregon Legislative Assembly

The 80th Oregon Legislative Assembly is the current meeting of the Oregon Legislative Assembly. It began January 22, 2019.

In the November 2018 elections, the Democratic Party of Oregon gained supermajority status in both houses: one seat in the Senate for a 18–12 majority, and three seats in the House for a 38–22 majority.

Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards (born July 15, 1957) is an American pro-choice activist who served as the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund from 2006 to 2018. In 2010, Richards was elected to the Ford Foundation board of trustees. In spring 2019, Richards co-founded Supermajority, a women's political action group.

Chapter XVIII of the United Nations Charter

Chapter XVIII of the United Nations Charter deals with amendments. The process is essentially modeled after the amendment process for the United States Constitution in that:

A two-thirds supermajority is required for adoption;

Ratification by a supermajority of the respective states is required;

There are two methods of proposing amendments;

The more common of those methods is for the "first branch" (in the case of the UN, the General Assembly) to submit an amendment to the states;

Another method, not actually used in practice, is to call a convention to propose amendments.

The amendment procedure itself contains a provision that does not allow states (in the case of the UN, the permanent five members of the UN Security Council) to be deprived of their suffrage (in this case, their veto and/or permanent UNSC membership) without their consent. (This is analogous to the entrenched clause contained in Article Five of the United States Constitution).There have been several amendments to the United Nations Charter since 1945, mostly to reflect increases in the size of the organization. However, the fundamental structure has remained the same. Nonetheless, the UN amendment process arguably favors the flexibility and continued existence of the organization more than the League of Nations amendment process specified by Article 26 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, which stated, "Amendments to this Covenant will take effect when ratified by the Members of the League whose representatives compose the Council and by a majority of the Members of the League whose Representatives compose the Assembly. No such amendment shall bind any Member of the League which signifies its dissent therefrom, but in that case it shall cease to be a Member of the League."

Flag of Tokelau

As Tokelau is a dependent territory of New Zealand, the flag of New Zealand has been used as the official flag for Tokelau. However, in May 2008 the local parliament, the General Fono, approved a distinctive flag and national emblem for Tokelau. This flag has not yet been widely used for official purposes, but an official launch of the new flag was planned for October 2009. The Governor-General presented the flag to the Ulu-o-Tokelau as Tokelau's first official flag on 7 September 2009.

A referendum on self-determination in 2006 failed to carry (it was supported, but not with the necessary supermajority), and another one in October 2007 fell 16 votes short.

Hung jury

A hung jury or deadlocked jury is a judicial jury that cannot agree upon a verdict after extended deliberation and is unable to reach the required unanimity or supermajority.

This situation can occur only in common law legal systems, because civil law systems either do not use juries at all or provide that the defendant is automatically acquitted if the majority or supermajority required for conviction is not reached during a single, solemn vote.

Legal Framework Order, 2002

The Legal Framework Order, 2002 was issued by Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf in August 2002. It provided for the general elections of 2002 and the revival of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan, and added numerous amendments to the Constitution. The following month, the Supreme Court overruled Musharraf, ruling that the amendments would have to be ratified by Parliament in the manner provided in the unamended 1973 Constitution—the amendments would have to be approved by two-thirds of both houses of the bicameral body.

After the October 2002 general elections, although Musharraf's supporters had a majority in Parliament, they did not have the required two-thirds supermajority to ratify the Legal Framework Order. Parliament was effectively deadlocked by strident opposition from Musharraf's opponents for over a year. In December 2003, a faction was persuaded to vote for a compromise amendment bill, the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. With this amendment, parts of the Legal Framework Order were incorporated into the Constitution.

Majority rule

Majority rule is a decision rule that selects alternatives which have a majority, that is, more than half the votes. It is the binary decision rule used most often in influential decision-making bodies, including all

the legislatures of democratic nations.

North Dakota Republican Party

The North Dakota Republican Party (ND GOP) is the North Dakota affiliate of the United States Republican Party. The Party's platform is generally conservative. The North Dakota Republican Party is strongly in control of the state's politics. The Party holds nearly all statewide positions in addition to having a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, over the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. The current party chairman is Rick Berg.

Oklahoma Republican Party

The Oklahoma Republican Party is a political party affiliated with the United States Republican Party (GOP). Along with the Oklahoma Democratic Party, it is one of the two major parties in Oklahoma politics.

As of the November 2012 elections, Republicans have a supermajority in both the Oklahoma Senate and Oklahoma House of Representatives, hold all statewide offices, and both Senate seats. This accomplishment is notwithstanding that the Republicans have fewer registered voters in the state than the Democrats (as of January 15, 2014, there are 854,329 registered Republican voters in Oklahoma, compared to 885,609 Democratic voters and 238,874 voters registered as independent or with other parties).The current chair of the state party is Pam Pollard.

Politics of the Southern United States

The politics of the Southern United States generally refers to the political landscape of the Southern United States. Due to the region's unique cultural and historical heritage, including slavery, the South has been involved in many political issues. Some of these issues include States' rights, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement and social conservatism. From the 1870s to the 1960s, the region was referred to as the Solid South, due to their consistent support for Democrats in all elective offices. As a result, its Congressmen gained seniority across many terms, thus enabling them to control many Congressional committees. In presidential politics, the South began to move away from national Democratic loyalties with the Dixiecrat movement of 1948 and the Barry Goldwater presidential campaign of 1964. Among white Southerners, Democratic loyalties first fell away at the presidential level, followed much later at the state and local levels.

Presidency Council of Iraq

The Presidency Council of Iraq was an entity that operated under the auspices of the "transitional provisions" of the Constitution of Iraq and previously under the Transitional Administrative Law.

The Presidency Council functioned in the role of the President of Iraq until one successive presidential term after the ratification of the Constitution and a government was seated. The Presidency council consisted of one President and two deputies, or Vice-Presidents, and the Presidency Council must have made all decisions unanimously.The members of the Presidency Council were elected with "one list" by a two-thirds majority in the Iraqi Council of Representatives. The Presidency Council had the right to veto legislation passed by the Council of Representatives which may have overrode the veto with a three-fifths supermajority. Under the TAL the override required a two-thirds supermajority.

Supermajority amendment

Super-majority amendment is a defensive tactic requiring that a substantial majority, usually 67% and sometimes as much as 90%, of the voting interest of outstanding capital stock to approve a merger. This amendment makes a hostile takeover much more difficult to perform. In most existing cases, however, the supermajority provisions have a board-out clause that provides the board with the power to determine when and if the supermajority provisions will be in effect. Pure supermajority provisions would seriously limit management's flexibility in takeover negotiations.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming State Legislature is the legislative branch of the U.S. State of Wyoming. It is a bicameral state legislature, consisting of a 60-member Wyoming House of Representatives, and a 30-member Wyoming Senate. The legislature meets at the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne. There are no term limits for either chamber.

The Republican Party holds a supermajority in the current legislature, which began meeting in 2019; 50 of the 60 seats in the House and 27 of the 30 seats in the Senate are held by Republicans.

Types of majority
Single member
Multi-member (election threshold)
Major concepts
Subsidiary motions
Privileged motions
Incidental motions
Motions that bring a question
again before the assembly
Legislative procedures
Disciplinary procedures
Parliamentary authorities

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