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pwilson

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  1. Priority of Business

    Thanks for the clarification and for the additional references (which aren't in the current index).
  2. Priority of Business

    The phrase “priority of business” is used, so far as I’m aware, only in the context of undebatable appeals ([11th ed.], p. 257, ll. 34–35). Does the phrase refer to the precedence of items of business (such as general and special orders for particular hours, pp. 367–71) or the precedence of motions—or both or neither?
  3. Unusual Voting Threshold

    Thank you, Mr. Martin, for your characteristically lucid and insightful reply, which I much appreciate.
  4. “No rule protecting a minority of a particular size can be suspended in the face of a negative vote as large as the minority protected by the rule” ([11th ed.], p. 261, ll. 15–17). But the “vote required for adoption” of Suspend the Rules is two-thirds, “except where the rule protects a minority of less than one third” (tinted p. 27). (1) Can a rule that protects 10 members be suspended by a vote of 20-10? Page 261 says no, but tinted p. 27 indicates yes. Should tinted p. 27 say “less than or equal to one third”? (2) As I understand the general principle, suspending a rule that protects a minority of less than or equal to one-third requires a vote greater than two-thirds. In other words, if m = number of members present and voting n = number of members protected by a rule (n ≤ m/3) v = vote necessary for adoption then v > (m – n). Is it okay to have a mathematical difference like this, rather than a fraction, for “the proportion that must concur” (p. 402, l. 26)? How should the chair announce the voting result? What should a tellers’ report say is “necessary for adoption”?
  5. Chair Persuaded by Appeal

    Makes perfect sense--thanks!
  6. If the chair is persuaded during debate on an appeal that his ruling on a point of order was erroneous, may he withdraw the ruling before it becomes precedent, or at least inform the assembly of his change of mind during his second speech at the close of debate? The former alternative would be analogous to a member withdrawing (or seeking permission to withdraw) a motion, although I can find no reference in RONR that would justify the chair withdrawing a ruling. The latter alternative would be similar to a member arguing against his own motion, which no member is allowed to do. What’s the best way for the chair to handle such a change of mind? Should the minutes include the reasons the chair gives during an appeal, or just the reasons he gives while ruling on the point of order itself?
  7. Lone Vote in Committee

    Unclear on my part. I should have emphasized the word anonymously just above and stated originally that only the reporting member publicly wanted the motion to come before the assembly. As I learned after the meeting in question, at least one committee member wanted the motion to come before the assembly but did not want to openly assert that fact during the committee meeting by voting in the affirmative. The replies above indicate, however, that abstaining from the committee vote of 1-0 is one way for a member to assert that he doesn't object to having the motion come before the assembly.
  8. Lone Vote in Committee

    Thanks for the helpful replies. Interestingly, abstaining from the vote in committee has the effect of “anonymously seconding” the motion in the assembly—which might have been exactly what some committee members wanted.
  9. Lone Vote in Committee

    At a recent meeting, a committee report contained a motion that only the reporting member wanted to come before the assembly. (The vote in committee had been 1-0, with several abstentions.) Does the motion require a second? RONR says no, “since the motion’s introduction has been directed by a majority vote within the board or committee and is therefore desired by at least two assembly members” ([11th ed., p. 36, ll. 18–21; see also the footnote on p. 507). I don’t follow this reasoning, given the sort of case above. Should the reporting member have briefly explained the situation and requested that the chair ask for a second?
  10. Changing a Vote by Ballot

    For what it’s worth, I had in mind the following sorts of cases in which a member may wish to change her ballot vote: • Immediately after casting her ballot, she regrets how she voted. • She wants the motion to pass only if it does so by an overwhelming majority, then learns when the tellers’ report is first read that the vote is 51-50. • After hearing (when the tellers’ report is first read) that there was only one vote against the motion—hers—she wishes to make the vote unanimous.
  11. Changing a Vote by Ballot

    Makes sense, although I'm struggling with the fact that p. 408 doesn't restrict the right to change one's vote to cases in which there's a reliable way to determine how one voted. Also, the passage appears before the various methods of voting are distinguished and appears to apply to all of them. The section on "Voting by Ballot" (pp. 412ff.) doesn't say anything to restrict the broad right to change one's vote on p. 408. I'm probably missing a passage that would settle the question.
  12. The right to change one’s vote is not restricted to the regular methods of voting (RONR [11th ed.], p. 408). In a vote taken by ballot, may a member who wants to change his vote thus unilaterally require the assembly to redo the balloting from scratch? That would seem to be the only way to preserve the integrity and secrecy of the balloting process but enables an individual to delay business. There seem to be two cases with respect to timing: requesting to change a ballot vote either before or after the tellers’ report has been read (and before the result is announced, in each case). In the latter case, the chair may deem the request dilatory when the tellers’ report indicates a clear result. This case would be similar to a member’s demanding division when the result is clear (p. 342, ll. 24–25). In the former case, though, there doesn’t seem to be a clear reason to curtail a member’s right to change his vote. Is the matter simply up to the chair’s discretion, subject to appeal?
  13. Voting on Corrections to the Minutes

    I’m still confused about the mechanics: (1) Is it out of order even to propose striking a tellers’ report from the minutes? (2) Does such a proposal somehow become out of order only if someone objects to it? (3) Is a motion “to suspend the rules and strike the tellers’ report from the minutes” debatable? (4) Are the roughly two dozen items RONR requires to be in the minutes, as well as the handful of items the book says not to include in the minutes, all on the same footing insofar as they require suspension of the rules for any deviation from §48?
  14. Voting on Corrections to the Minutes

    Thanks for the clarification. I stand corrected. I'm getting the sense that my original reference to PL is a red herring and that any correction to the minutes, no matter how much it appears to suspend a rule (e.g., striking a tellers' report for a vote ordered to be counted or taken by ballot, inserting the secretary's opinion), is, if objected to, handled as an ordinary amendment--just as RONR says.
  15. Voting on Corrections to the Minutes

    Perhaps the member whose proposal to strike the tellers’ report from the minutes is objected to needs to move “to suspend the rules and correct the minutes by striking the tellers’ report.” That would accord with the spirit of General Robert’s answer, while following RONR to the letter. If the rule requiring tellers’ reports to be in the minutes ends up being suspended, then striking the tellers’ report can be handled as an ordinary amendment. If the bylaws require election by ballot, we have the thorny question of whether a tellers’ report is an essential element of a ballot vote. (See this thread.) To avoid any controversy involving bylaws, perhaps we can focus on the tellers’ report from a vote on a motion that the assembly ordered to be taken by ballot. It seems that the majority who ordered the ballot vote can be overridden by two thirds who wish to suspend the rules regarding which elements of that ballot vote go in the minutes. Would suspension of the rules be necessary for striking from the minutes the name of the maker of a main motion or for inserting a summary of a guest speaker’s remarks? Would suspension of the rules be sufficient for inserting the secretary’s opinion, which RONR says “the minutes should never reflect”? (p. 468, ll. 18-19).
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