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A few years ago our organization voted to establish a series of special funds for specific purposes. They all require a vote of the membership to use those monies for a purpose different from the purpose for which they were designated. At the same time we voted that two of these funds should require a two-thirds majority to withdraw or reallocate funds for any purpose. It was specified in the adopted Standards and Practices that day that an amendment to the bylaws would be required. In the years since, the bylaws have not been amended. Our bylaws state: The latest edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order” shall be used as a guide for the conduct of all Church business meetings, except in those cases where such rules conflict with these Bylaws. And that amending the bylaws requires lots of prior notifications and “two-thirds majority of votes cast.” So, can a motion requiring a two-thirds vote for a specific action of the membership be approved by a simple majority? If the chair wished to enforce the two-thirds requirement, could a special rule be established? Thanks in advance for your kind assistance.
Hello, Our group has been looking for an answer to this question. In our club, an addition to our by-laws in the form of a "Special Rule" was voted on in 1994; but, as far as anyone can tell, it was never published in the official by-laws as either a special rule, amendment, or by-law. (After one year without change or modification, and without further vote, Special Rules that apply to articles of our club's by-laws are incorporated under the appropriate article. Special Rules that do not apply to specific articles remain Special Rules until voted out.) The official by-laws have been revised, approved, and accepted by the membership several times over the past 20+ years, and the special rule that was voted on in 1994 was never incorporated into the official by-laws. Recently, our members voted to take an action which would have been contrary to the 1994 special rule that was never published. Now, after these many years, the president directed that research be conducted; and he has found documentation where the vote was indeed taken in 1994 and the motion passed. As previously stated, though, the special rule was never published. So now, 22 years later, the president of our club has added the 1994 addition as a "Special Rule" to our club's current by-laws, even though it has never been there before now. This is important to us because, although our recent vote to take an action which would by contrary to this 1994 vote had a majority of the members in attendance in favor of it, it did not meet the 2/3 majority threshold needed to change a by-law or a special rule, and our motion failed. Is this action by the president - inserting a special rule 22 years later and after several revised, approved, and accepted by-laws - allowed according to Roberts Rules of Order?