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How many votes can there be for the Speaker of the House of Representatives?

For the first time in 100 years multiple votes will be required to decide the next Speaker of the House, but how long could the process go on for?

How long can Speaker votes go on for?

There has been a major mutiny in the Republican Party this week when several members defected from the party’s chosen candidate for Speaker of the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy. The deadlock has continued into Friday’s session after three frustrating days for the Republicans.

For the first time since 1923 multiple votes will be required to secure a majority in the vote to decide who will lead the Lower Chamber. McCarthy had expected a backlash from elements of the Trump-aligned Freedom Caucus, but the scale of the desertion will have come as a shock.

Follow along:

The House of Representatives will continue to hold votes until a majority can be found, because the chamber is unable to continue with legislative business until a Speaker has been named.

In theory, this process can continue indefinitely but there are few congressional laws governing this very rare occurrence. The most recent instance of multiple votes being required, 1923, saw nine ballots required before Rep. Frederick Gillett won a majority.

But that pales in comparison to the infamous Speaker vote of 1856, which required an astonishing 133 separate votes taking place before a leader was chosen. This two-month process is considered the most contention and controversial in American history and played out in the backdrop of a fierce slavery debate.

The number of votes is not expected to make it into the three-figures this time around, but we could see a considerable number required if McCarthy is not able to bring more than a dozen discontented members back on side.