Belgium was one of the first countries in the world to switch to an electronic voting system in the 1950s. However, the conventional way of voting (sitting and standing) is still used on occasion. The result can be announced via the ballot boards to the left and right of the room. The number of each individual senator seat is coloured green, red or white, depending on whether he voted for, against or abstained. The result of the vote appears immediately on the panel above the ballot board.
Usually, all the votes of the senators are added up and the result appears in the middle column under "S". However, laws that affect the fundamental organisation of the country require a double majority: a majority within each linguistic group on the one hand and a two-thirds majority of all votes on the other. The result of the vote by language group appears under "N" for Dutch or "F" for French.
Votes are made public, except where they concern individuals. In such cases, each senator votes in writing by means of a ballot paper deposited in an urn.
© Belgian Senate