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  1. I made a motion at the last department meeting and there was a vote. 5 people voted in favor of my proposal and 0 voted against. 11 people abstained. 16 people is a quorum. I don't know why they abstained but it does not matter. The bylaws of the constitution require just a simple majority and then defers to Robert's rules. Here is what I can get from doing a little research: 1) Abstentions are not votes—in fact, it is an oxymoron because if you abstain, you are refusing to vote. 2) Therefore there are only two choices—to pass or to reject the motion. 3) There was a quorum present 4) A plurality is not mentioned in the bylaws nor is the requirement that a majority be of the persons present. It just calls for simple majority. Besides, an abstention is not a vote choice--it is a choice to not vote. 5) Majority vote is defined as more than half of the votes cast by those entitled to vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, at a meeting at which a quorum is present. So, my motion passed. Am I wrong?
  2. Good afternoon, Recently, a member of a small Commission (6 people) that I serve as staff for asked the following: Is there a difference between an abstention and a recusal (which, based on what I've read so far is to not vote because of a conflict of interest)? I was not sure of the answer. As I explained, I equated an abstention with a simple non-vote (covering a number of circumstances), while a recusal was a conflict of interest. However, it seems as if a member's recusal is not specified in Robert's Rules - only a non-vote in conflict of interest circumstances. If a member had a conflict of interest and did not vote, would abstention be a suitable description? Or, should their "non-vote" be described differently. Thank you, Meghan
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