|Totals||Democrat||Whig||Free Soil||Ind. Republican-Democrat|
What’s the difference between “aye” and “yea”?
There is no meaningful difference between “aye” and “yea” (and “nay” and “no”), but the terms are used in different sorts of votes based on Congress’s long tradition of parliamentary procedure.
The House and Senate follow the U.S. Constitution strictly when it says that bills should be decided on by the “yeas and nays” (Article I, Section 7). So they literally say “yea” and “nay” when voting on bills. In the Senate, they always use these words.
The House sometimes operates under a special set of rules called the “Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union” (or “Committee of the Whole” for short), which is a sort of pseudo-committee that is made up of every congressman. During this mode of operation, the House uses the terms “aye” and “no” instead, but the meaning is the same. (See the Rules of the House, Rule XX, and House Practice in the section Voting.)