Boards can’t meet on Slack or similar group messaging platforms

By Ann Macfarlane / March 14, 2019 / Comments Off on Boards can’t meet on Slack or similar group messaging platforms
A word cloud with terms related to social media, such as "social," "media," "group messaging platforms," "content," "network," and "blogging" in various font sizes and colors.

Update on June 4, 2020  –   Things have changed this spring because of the COVID-19 crisis. Some states have amended their laws or issued emergency orders changing their rules on remote meetings and email voting. This guidance may no longer apply. Check with your attorney before deciding what to do. It is fine for board…

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When does chair discuss and vote?

By Ann Macfarlane / February 13, 2019 / Comments Off on When does chair discuss and vote?
A tall, dark wooden chair with a high, tufted green leather backrest and seat, flanked by wooden columns—perfect for discussing and voting on important matters.

Confusion about the role of the chair at meetings can be widespread. Here are some parameters. Download PDF Chair of large meeting does not discuss and vote When a large assembly (group) is meeting, the chair serves as a facilitator. The chair does not take part in debate (discussion) and does not vote, unless the…

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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
A hand with a dark sleeve is giving a negative vote gesture, thumbs-down, against a white background.

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 /
A red keyboard key with the word "OOPS!" written on it is seen among white keys, standing out like an error in correct meeting minutes.

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
Red ballot box with "Every Vote Counts!" written on the front, containing a few white papers sticking out of the slot. Ensuring accuracy is paramount; counting a vote wrong undermines our democracy.

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
A person in a suit marks a checkbox labeled "Fail" with a red check, next to another empty checkbox labeled "Pass," suggesting the outcome could hinge on a tie vote.

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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Don’t say “so moved” or “same sign”

By Ann Macfarlane / June 19, 2018 / Comments Off on Don’t say “so moved” or “same sign”
Image containing a gavel tilted to the right with the text "So Moved" prominently displayed in bold, white letters against a vibrant blue background.

It’s common for people to say “so moved” when they agree with something a speaker says. Often this is a kind of enthusiastic endorsement. BUT…What exactly was moved? If the remarks or proposal were vague, it is not clear what was intended. We recommend that people NOT use this phrase. However, if someone does say, “So moved,” the chair…

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Don’t take a two-thirds vote by voice

By Ann Macfarlane / June 5, 2018 / Comments Off on Don’t take a two-thirds vote by voice
A white fraction "2/3" is centered on a green background, symbolizing the weight of a two-thirds vote.

When you have to take a two-thirds vote, take it by a show of hands. Don’t use voice, as in this video from Amherst, Massachusetts!

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Unanimous consent will slash your meeting time

By Ann Macfarlane / April 17, 2018 / Comments Off on Unanimous consent will slash your meeting time
A chalkboard with the word "AGREEMENT" in the center, encircled and surrounded by multiple arrows pointing towards it, symbolizing unanimous consent.

Unanimous consent is one of the most useful tools in Robert’s Rules of order. Yet this method of voting is little known. Use it well, and your meetings will be much more efficient. Your members will also be grateful!

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Don’t try to count a voice vote

By Ann Macfarlane / April 3, 2018 / Comments Off on Don’t try to count a voice vote
Close-up of a hand holding a red pencil, marking tally marks on lined paper, recording votes in meeting minutes.

Sometimes after a voice vote that is not unanimous, we see an odd scenario. The chair or the clerk starts trying to figure out who voted for and who voted against. “Let’s see, it looks like the motion passed, with Member B and Member C voting against—you did vote against, didn’t you?” Don’t do this! Trying…

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