Recording votes in meeting minutes

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recording votes in meeting minutesWhen deciding about recording votes in meeting minutes, first review any legal requirements in your state of incorporation. For instance, in California, public bodies must record how each board member cast her vote by name in the minutes. Those requirements may settle the matter for you.

If your state doesn’t specify how to record the votes, then you have a choice. The sample minutes given in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 11th edition (pp. 472-473) simply say that “the motion was adopted.”  Here are some different ways of recording votes in meeting minutes.

Pass or fail.

The motion passed.

The motion passed as amended.

The motion passed unanimously.

The motion failed.

Pass or fail with numbers.

The motion passed with 5 votes in favor and 2 against.

The motion failed with 1 vote in favor and 19 against.

Pass or fail with names.

The motion passed with Directors Green, Brown and Black voting in favor, and Directors White and Gray voting against.

Roll call vote.

Black  AYE

Brown  AYE

Gray  NO

Green  AYE

White NO

The motion passed.

Abstentions and recording votes in meeting minutes

Note that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, to abstain is to do nothing, and abstentions are not counted. However, for public bodies, or for any body where a conflict of interest is in play, you will want to record abstentions.

Pass or fail with numbers.

The motion passed with 5 votes in favor, 2 against, and 2 abstentions.

Pass or fail with names of abstainers.

The motion passed with Directors Green, Brown and Black voting in favor, Directors White and Gray voting against, and Director Blue abstaining for reasons of conflict of interest.

Roll call vote.

Black  AYE

Blue  ABSTAIN due to conflict of interest

Brown  AYE

Gray  NO

Green  AYE

White NO

The motion passed.

Avoid this error in recording votes in meeting minutes

It should be perfectly clear to anyone who reads your minutes what the outcome was. If you’re going to record names, record them all. If you’re giving numbers, give all the relevant numbers. The reader should not have to go back and try to calculate from the list of who was in attendance what the numerical outcome was, as in this poor example:

All in favor except for Gray and White.

And finally…

Be sure to record the numbers when you hold elections. See this post for more on this important point.