Voting and Quorum

What Is a Quorum FAQs

By Ann Macfarlane / September 13, 2021 / Comments Off on What Is a Quorum FAQs

Quorum questions are the most common searches on the Jurassic Parliament website. Here are the contents of our new article, “What Is a Quorum FAQs.” Join our list and get your free copy. This article is based on Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition. Read about quorum in Chapter XI, Section 40. As…

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When asked to vote, director does nothing

By Ann Macfarlane / August 23, 2021 / Comments Off on When asked to vote, director does nothing

Dear Dinosaur:  When calling for the vote with our 3-person county board, two directors vote “aye” and the third director does not vote. The director doesn’t vote aye, nay or with an abstention when asked. Just simply, no action. How is that vote then recorded? Answer: Under Robert’s Rules of Order, “to abstain” is to…

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Unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting

By Ann Macfarlane / June 23, 2021 /

One of the useful techniques to add to your voting toolkit is “unanimous written consent in lieu of a meeting.” If allowed by state law, you can use this approach when it’s not feasible to hold a live board meeting. In order to do this, prepare a written motion proposing the action that you would…

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Can committees take official votes? Is a “straw poll” allowed?

By Ann Macfarlane / June 4, 2021 /

Dear Dinosaur: A secretary forwarded a board member’s question: “I have always been told that we could not take an official vote in committee. Can you find anything about this?” This came up in a governance committee where members were “voting” to move a policy change to the whole board for vote. Is this straw…

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When and how can you change your vote?

By Ann Macfarlane / March 16, 2021 / Comments Off on When and how can you change your vote?

A reader contacted us with some concern because a member of her local government body had changed their vote in order to be able to move reconsideration at the next meeting. Was this legitimate? A note about “reconsideration” First off, readers should know that ordinarily, the motion “to reconsider” can be made only during the…

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Can we vote on 10 ordinances at once?

By Ann Macfarlane / January 19, 2021 / Comments Off on Can we vote on 10 ordinances at once?

Dear Dinosaur:  We have 10 ordinances on tonight’s agenda for pay increases for all Village employees.  Each ordinance covers a department. After they discuss each piece and nothing has to be revised or discussed further, can they vote all ten ordinances in one vote, rather than voting on each one individually? Answer: From a Robert’s…

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You must call for the negative vote

By Ann Macfarlane / October 23, 2018 / Comments Off on You must call for the negative vote

Updated November 18, 2022 One of the surprising rules about voting is that when taking the vote, the chair MUST call for the negative vote—even if the chair is perfectly certain that there were enough votes in favor to pass the motion. This ensures that everyone enjoys their full right to vote, even if they…

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When is a quorum not enough?

By Ann Macfarlane / September 28, 2018 /

It seems that confusion is rampant about the “quorum” and related voting issues. Read on:

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Counting a vote wrong is dangerous

By Ann Macfarlane / August 16, 2018 / Comments Off on Counting a vote wrong is dangerous

Updated November 18, 2022 Counting a vote wrong can land you in big trouble. As readers know, the QUORUM is the minimum number of voting members who must be present for business to be done. Once you have your quorum in place, you can take action by discussion and voting. (Read “what is a quorum”…

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Tie vote fails

By Ann Macfarlane / June 26, 2018 / Comments Off on Tie vote fails

Updated July 22, 2021 What happens when a vote is tied? Here are a few angles to this question. A reader writes: I am the Vice-Chair of a small board—three people, Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary. We have dual roles. One voted yes. One voted no. One abstained. Does the motion pass or is the motion…

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