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new by-law


Guest C. Clifford

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A motion is brought forward to introduce a new by law. The final tally is 10 in favor, 1 against, 5 abstentions. The chair proceeds as if the motion is carried.

Following the meeting, some have raised a question as to whether proper procedures were followed.

Is a majority of 2/3 needed to pass the motion?

Was such a majority obtained?

If not, can such a point of order be raised at the next meeting, so that the minutes indicate the motion was not carried?

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Your bylaws should contain the procedures for their own amendment. If a 2/3 vote is required, you have that (10 to 1). If there is a requirement that the threshold be 2/3 of those present (assuming that's 16 from what you've told us) then 10 is not enough. It may be too late to raise a point of order. see RONR pp 242 ff for the circumstances when a continuing breach would allow it to be raised after the fact. You indicate there might also be questions about procedures followed.

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Is a majority of 2/3 needed to pass the motion?

Was such a majority obtained?

As noted, a vote of 10-1 constitutes a two-thirds vote but that's only good enough to amend bylaws if previous notice has been given (assuming your bylaws don't have their own requirements for amending them, which they should).

Without previous notice you'd need a majority of the entire membership of the organization.

But check your bylaws, usually near the end, for the section on amendments.

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A motion is brought forward to introduce a new by law. The final tally is 10 in favor, 1 against, 5 abstentions. The chair proceeds as if the motion is carried.

Following the meeting, some have raised a question as to whether proper procedures were followed.

Is a majority of 2/3 needed to pass the motion?

Was such a majority obtained?

If not, can such a point of order be raised at the next meeting, so that the minutes indicate the motion was not carried?

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There are no written procedures. I am presuming that a by-law relating to those having a right to vote (as is the case here) would fall under Rule #48, and require notice of a motion prior to the meeting (something that was not done) and then 2/3 of the votes cast.

It is possible to revisit this motion in a subsequent meeting to indicate that it was (1) brought forward without following parliamentary procedure, and (2), in any case it did not have 2/3 of the votes cast and so would not have carried?

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There are no written procedures. I am presuming that a by-law relating to those having a right to vote (as is the case here) would fall under Rule #48, and require notice of a motion prior to the meeting (something that was not done) and then 2/3 of the votes cast.

That's too much presuming. Your bylaws should contain a provision that states the requirements for amendment. If your bylaws do not contain any such provision, they may be amended by a two-thirds vote, with notice; or by a vote of a majority of the entire membership.

It is possible to revisit this motion in a subsequent meeting to indicate that it was (1) brought forward without following parliamentary procedure,

If you mean required notice was not given, the amendment is null and void, unless it was adopted by a vote of a majority of the entire membership.

and (2), in any case it did not have 2/3 of the votes cast and so would not have carried?

It did receive two thirds of the votes cast. How are you figuring otherwise?

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(2), in any case it did not have 2/3 of the votes cast and so would not have carried?

In your original post, you stated that the motion received 10 votes in the affirmative and 1 vote in the negative. If this is correct, the motion received well over 2/3 of the votes cast. Abstentions are not votes cast. See FAQ #6.

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