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Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally authorized voting by proxy for House members on Wednesday during the coronavirus pandemic, after the House adopted the rules last week.

Here’s how it works:

The remote voting begins Wednesday and lasts the next 45 days as designated by the speaker.

The proxy voting system is optional and lawmakers are still free to cast their own votes if they prefer. The House is in session May 27 and 28 and members may vote remotely then, but Fox News is told to expect most members to vote in person for next week.

A member who wishes to vote by proxy has to submit a signed letter from the Rules Committee’s template to the Clerk authorizing another member to vote on their behalf. The letter can be submitted by email, but the scanned letter must have an original signature. It must be submitted before the start of the vote.

After the letter is emailed, a hard copy needs to be submitted to the Office of the Clerk.


The choice of the proxy is up to the absent member, but a House member cannot serve as a proxy for more than 10 people. Each time a vote is scheduled, the member voting by proxy needs to submit an email or otherwise written instructions to the member they ask to vote for them, from official devices and accounts. They also have to confirm the instruction in a member-to-member phone call.

Members are instructed to keep their phones close by in the case of an unscheduled vote, but the vote will be held open long enough to allow time for members to send voting instructions to their proxies.

The rule change also allows for committee hearings, markups and depositions by videoconference.

The voting by proxy instructions come after last week when the attending physician and sergeant-at-arms announced coronavirus guidelines for lawmakers who do return to Washington. Voting will take place in six groups of 72 members allowed in the House chamber at a time. During debate on legislation, only members who are scheduled to speak will be allowed onto the House floor.


The Republican-controlled Senate has been in session for the last two weeks while the House has since March convened for a day at a time to pass coronavirus relief legislation, most recently last Friday.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

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