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Waiving voting rights


Guest Marisa

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What is the/is there a procedure when a member would like to waive their voting rights on one particular matter but still be included in quorum? She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum. In order to reinstate her rights, would the entire organization then have to vote to do so?

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What is the/is there a procedure when a member would like to waive their voting rights on one particular matter but still be included in quorum? She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum. In order to reinstate her rights, would the entire organization then have to vote to do so?

A member retains the right to abstain (without losing any other rights, or aspects, of membership), since s/he cannot be compelled to vote. (RONR 11th Ed. p. 404 ll. 12-15)

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What is the/is there a procedure when a member would like to waive their voting rights on one particular matter but still be included in quorum?

Yes. The procedure is to abstain but to remain in the room.

She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum.

Unless she leaves the room, this is not correct. A quorum is based on the number of members present, not the number of members voting.

In order to reinstate her rights, would the entire organization then have to vote to do so?

No. The member abstains and votes when she sees fit. She never really "gave up" her rights, she just chose not to exercise them in a particular case, so there is no need to "reinstate" anything.

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What is the/is there a procedure when a member would like to waive their voting rights on one particular matter but still be included in quorum? She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum. In order to reinstate her rights, would the entire organization then have to vote to do so?

The other possibility that occurs to me is the situation where an organization bases vote outcomes on a something like 'majority of members present' rather than the default majority of those present and voting. In the former case, there is no real way for a member to avoid having an influence on the vote -- since anyone who stays in the room and abstains from voting is essentially counted on the 'no' side of the question.

I'm not sure this is behind Marisa's question, but it is a possible reason for a member being concerned about maintaining quorum, yet not wanting to have any part in the outcome of a vote. In a society with such a voting rule, I don't think there is a way for the member to have it both ways.

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Speaker Reed and the "Present Quorum":

And for lots more details about "the times" as well as the specific ruling and how it came about, read James Grant's "Mr. Speaker" - a (political) biography that is a delight to read. Reed was a very sharp-witted guy. From Maine.

The Democrats were the obstructionists in those days. Time change...

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The other possibility that occurs to me is the situation where an organization bases vote outcomes on a something like 'majority of members present' rather than the default majority of those present and voting. In the former case, there is no real way for a member to avoid having an influence on the vote -- since anyone who stays in the room and abstains from voting is essentially counted on the 'no' side of the question.

I'm not sure this is behind Marisa's question, but it is a possible reason for a member being concerned about maintaining quorum, yet not wanting to have any part in the outcome of a vote. In a society with such a voting rule, I don't think there is a way for the member to have it both ways.

I'm not sure how the first paragraph has anything to do with a quorum and the stated concern: "She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum." No mention of how the vote would be affected was indicated, thankfully, since it's common to mix the two things.

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I'm not sure how the first paragraph has anything to do with a quorum and the stated concern: "She doesn't want to abstain because in doing so our organization may not meet quorum." No mention of how the vote would be affected was indicated, thankfully, since it's common to mix the two things.

My comments were more related to the first sentence of the OP:

What is the/is there a procedure when a member would like to waive their voting rights on one particular matter but still be included in quorum?

I can imagine this being a concern to someone in an organization which follows the rule of majority of those present required to adopt a motion. In an organization following the RONR rules about voting, the member in question has no problem (as assorted posters have already pointed out). After the introduction of Speaker Reed into the thread, I thought we were free to wander off to left field :) .

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Yes, indeed, as witness Speaker Reed's famous "Present Quorum" ruling of January 29, 1890, which so outraged all of the Democrats in the House. :)

I believe that in reply to a member of the house who was objecting to his ruling he said "Does the gentleman deny that he is present"

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I believe that in reply to a member of the house who was objecting to his ruling he said "Does the gentleman deny that he is present"

Something to that effect, yes. The full quote is: "The Chair is making a statement of fact that the gentleman from Kentucky is present. Does he deny it?"

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