Guest glennpb

Motion to postpone after motion to vote has been made and seconded

6 posts in this topic

Hello!

 

I am not a Robert's Rules expert, but I am generally familiar with the workings.

 

I wonder if I witnessed a violation of Robert's Rules the other night...

 

At  a local city commissioners' meeting, the commission spent a great deal of time discussing an issue. Finally, a member moved to vote on the motion, and the move was seconded. However, after that, a 3rd member stated that he needed still more information and moved to postpone the vote. After a lot of confusion, one member said that a motion to postpone supersedes a motion to vote. The motion to postpone was carried (barely) and the motion to vote was simply lost in the shuffle.

 

My question is: once a motion to vote has been made and seconded, can it be "overruled" by a new motion to postpone?

 

Thank you for your advice!

 

Glenn

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Hello!

 

I am not a Robert's Rules expert, but I am generally familiar with the workings.

 

I wonder if I witnessed a violation of Robert's Rules the other night...

 

At  a local city commissioners' meeting, the commission spent a great deal of time discussing an issue. Finally, a member moved to vote on the motion, and the move was seconded. However, after that, a 3rd member stated that he needed still more information and moved to postpone the vote. After a lot of confusion, one member said that a motion to postpone supersedes a motion to vote. The motion to postpone was carried (barely) and the motion to vote was simply lost in the shuffle.

 

My question is: once a motion to vote has been made and seconded, can it be "overruled" by a new motion to postpone?

 

Thank you for your advice!

 

Glenn

 

By a "motion to vote" I take it you mean a motion for the previous question, therefore, the answer is, no.  It's too late now to raise a point of order though.

Edited by George Mervosh

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My question is: once a motion to vote has been made and seconded, can it be "overruled" by a new motion to postpone?

No. The vote should have been taken on the motion for the Previous Question. This motion requires a 2/3 vote for adoption, and since a majority of the members wished to postpone the motion, it seems it would have almost certainly failed. A member could have then moved to postpone the main motion.

Additionally, it must be understood that it is never in order to "postpone a vote." The motion to Postpone to a Certain Time postpones the motion in its entirety. The motion will be subject to debate and amendment again at the next meeting.

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Based on some of the other questions that have been submitted to this site, I'm not so sure that the 'motion to vote' was actually a motion for the previous question. Could guest glennpb please quote how that motion was worded, if possible? There is no 'motion to vote' as such in RONR, although a motion for the previous question, sometimes stated as 'call the question', certainly does end discussion and force an immediate vote.

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Thank you all for your replies! I am familiar enough with RR to know about calling the question, but that was not how the initial commissioner phrased her motion to vote; she simply said "I move that we vote on the agenda item as stated" (or words very similar to that), which is what was seconded. 

 

There was a lot of business conducted that did not follow the RR proper phrasing, even though there was an attorney present. 

 

The commissioner who moved to postpone the vote also basically said "I move to postpone the vote"; he did not specify to a certain time.

 

Also, I am grudgingly accepting that since this was done, it can't be undone, but I would like to make the first commissioner aware of this particularity for the next meeting, so she handles the motion properly and gets the proper outcome.

 

Glennpb

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Thank you all for your replies! I am familiar enough with RR to know about calling the question, but that was not how the initial commissioner phrased her motion to vote; she simply said "I move that we vote on the agenda item as stated" (or words very similar to that), which is what was seconded. 

 

There was a lot of business conducted that did not follow the RR proper phrasing, even though there was an attorney present. 

 

The commissioner who moved to postpone the vote also basically said "I move to postpone the vote"; he did not specify to a certain time.

 

Also, I am grudgingly accepting that since this was done, it can't be undone, but I would like to make the first commissioner aware of this particularity for the next meeting, so she handles the motion properly and gets the proper outcome.

 

Glennpb

 

Make the first commissioner aware of it outside of the meeting.  It's too late to raise a point of order.  RONR also recommends the presiding officer help the member phrase the motion so that it would be clear as to its intent such as suggesting the member move for the previous question if was in order at the time, including proper RONR language.  Tell him that as well.  The motion to postpone still seems improper given your facts.

 

The fact that a lawyer doesn't understand the motions and forms and examples of the language to be used in RONR shouldn't surprise you.

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