Answered By: stephanie mayeux Last Updated: Aug 29, 2015 Views: 232
The best explanation was found in a New York Times article from 14 Aug 2005, written by William Safire: ''It is an unofficial term for a vote on the question rather than a vote with respect to the question . . . 'With nominees, an up-or-down vote means that you don't want anything to block the vote,' says Don Ritchie, associate historian of the Senate . . . That means an up-or-down vote on substance is roughly synonymous with a recorded yea-or-nay vote, a roll-call vote and — also in informal usage — a clean vote. It is distinct from a vote on procedure, like a motion to table, to recommit, to amend an amendment or to end debate in a filibuster."
- That's great, but where did the term originate? Why is it called "up or down"? There must be a reason somewhere...