Pairing-Off

Pairing-Off

In the practice of legislative bodies, a system by which two members, who belong to opposing political parties or are on opposite sides with respect to a certain question, mutually agree that they will both be absent from voting, either for a specified period or when a vote is to be taken on the particular question.

As a result of pairing-off, a vote is neutralized on each side of the question, and the comparative division of the legislature remains the same as if both members were present. The practice is said to have originated in the English House of Commons during the time of Oliver Cromwell.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.