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Unanimous vote


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Guest Edgar

Is an election (voted by show of hands) with the result of 53 yeas, 0 nos and 1 abstention a unanimous vote?

Yes, it could be described as a unanimous vote but is there any reason for doing so? Do your rules require a unanimous vote?

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Yes, I suppose so (all the votes that are to be counted were on the same side; abstentions are not counted). Why does it matter if the vote is 'unanimous'? Such a description would not normally be included in the minutes, for example...

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Perhaps a reference to the 'no' option in the election?

I don't know what you mean by this. Guest Jim seems to have described a situation in which a vote by show of hands makes a lot of sense.

Of course, if there was only one nominee, the chair should have declared him elected without a vote, but where facts are missing we ought not assume facts which make the procedure followed improper.

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To clarify: This was an election to call a pastor for the church. The congregation prefered a voice vote. The moderator tried to force a balot vote and, when a motion for a ballot vote faile, the moderator directed a show of hands.

Jim

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The moderator behaved (just about) properly, except for that "tried to force" business. He then acceded to the will of the assembly - good for him. (That's a rare action with some moderators!) A voice vote would have served as well.

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Guest Edgar

This was an election to call a pastor for the church.

Doesn't sound like much of an election to me. No one voted for anyone else?

In any case, you didn't say why it mattered (if it did) that the vote was unanimous.

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Okay.

But I hope you'll forgive me if I focus on the part that says it's "not a generally suitable method".

You can focus on that all you want so long as you don't ignore all the rest, such as "The viva-voce method of election finds application principally in mass meetings—or when an election is not strongly contested and the bylaws do not require election by ballot." (emphasis supplied).

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Guest Edgar

You can focus on that all you want so long as you don't ignore all the rest, such as "The viva-voce method of election finds application principally in mass meetings—or when an election is not strongly contested and the bylaws do not require election by ballot." (emphasis supplied).

Fair enough.

Thanks.

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The practice of the denomination is to have a committee select a candidate for the pastor position, have them conduct a service in front of the congregation and then "elect to call" the pastor - so there is only one candidate at a time. Some of us feel that by even forcing a vote by show of hands, he did not meet the will of the body (voice vote). The voice vote has been the custom of the congregation since its beginning (20+ years).

The thought of a unanimous vote is probably just a good feeling that everyone in the congregation who voted, did so for the new pastor. Our rules say that, if there is a significant disagreement on the call, the candidtae should probably reconsider the call. Therefore, a unanimous call is a very good thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Is an election (voted by show of hands) with the result of 53 yeas, 0 nos and 1 abstention a unanimous vote?

I would argue that you have no real count of the number of people who abstained, since anyone who voted neither Yes nor No was an abstention. It is improper for the chair to call for or count abstentions. For that matter, the chair erred in actually counting hands at all, since it is apparent there was no way he could have been in doubt on the matter once the hands went up for the Yes vote. With no rule or motion to the contrary, he should properly have called for a voice vote, but that's water under the bridge at this point.

Still, none of the above has any bearing on the answer because abstentions aren't votes, so whenever the votes are either all Yes or all No, that's a unanimous vote. As others have pointed out, there's no particular parliamentary significance to unanimity.

Even so, do your rules define what a "significant" disagreement is? If not, you might be leaving yourself open for needless chaos someday, due to this ambiguity.

I suggest that it might be wise to establish a clear rule on the matter, and include it in your bylaws, such as, for example, "The calling of a pastor requires a 2/3 vote for passage."

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