Don’t try to count a voice vote

© Can Stock Photo Inc./Anke

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 to count a voice vote after the fact wastes time and leads to confusion. If you want to record the numbers for and against, or the names of individual members for and against, take the vote again by a show of hands or a roll call. Remember that members are free to vote on this second go-round as they choose. If they’ve changed their mind in the interval and vote differently the second time, it’s not a problem.

Read more about the ins and outs of recording votes on our blog here.

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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.