Dear Dinosaur Advice Column

Got questions about Robert's Rules of Order? Ann Macfarlane is a dinosaur who knows her stuff. She explains the complexity of Robert's Rules so it makes sense. She loves hearing from readers with their questions about Robert's Rules of Order.

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 Rules perspective, yes, they can. This is called “voting en bloc” (a French term meaning “all at once”). The president could ask, “Is there any objection to taking one vote to approve all these ordinances?” If someone objects, either the president could take a vote about it, or the president could just go ahead and take each vote separately. Note that it’s possible your state law says something different, so check with your attorney before you do this.

Dear Dinosaur provides simple, practical answers to questions about Robert’s Rules and parliamentary procedure. Send your questions to Dear Dinosaur here. Our answers are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 12th edition. As always, nothing in this post constitutes legal or business advice. For complicated questions, seek a qualified authority.

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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.