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Elections and Debate

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In the election of officers, is the assembly entitled to debate in the same way as in a main motion. In other words, isn't an election the question of who shall we elect as president or secretary or whatever office?

(A citation to Robert's Rules would be helpful.)

So, the converse, if an election isn't a question before the assembly, how is the issue of discussion fairly handled?

The issue revolves around rule-making to limit the time and the people who may speak for candidates.

If an overall time-limit for a candidate is set at, say, 10 minutes and only that candidate can choose who speaks (whether or not the candidate or the speakers chosen are eligible to vote or members of the assembly), isn't that a limitation on the assembly to discuss the candidates for the office?

And if it is a limitation, does it not require a 2/3 vote to gain approval either as part of a set of rules or as a motion?

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In the election of officers, is the assembly entitled to debate in the same way as in a main motion. In other words, isn't an election the question of who shall we elect as president or secretary or whatever office?

(A citation to Robert's Rules would be helpful.)

So, the converse, if an election isn't a question before the assembly, how is the issue of discussion fairly handled?

The issue revolves around rule-making to limit the time and the people who may speak for candidates.

If an overall time-limit for a candidate is set at, say, 10 minutes and only that candidate can choose who speaks (whether or not the candidate or the speakers chosen are eligible to vote or members of the assembly), isn't that a limitation on the assembly to discuss the candidates for the office?

And if it is a limitation, does it not require a 2/3 vote to gain approval either as part of a set of rules or as a motion?

Nominations are debatable, as is the question "that ____ be elected," and limiting debate requires a two-thirds vote.

See RONR (11th ed.), p. 430, ll. 4-6.

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If an overall time-limit for a candidate is set at, say, 10 minutes and only that candidate can choose who speaks (whether or not the candidate or the speakers chosen are eligible to vote or members of the assembly), isn't that a limitation on the assembly to discuss the candidates for the office?

Yes. Most of these objects can be accomplished by the motion to Limit or Extend Limits of Debate. See RONR, 11th ed., pg. 196, lines 25-31 for a similar case. The part about permitting non-members to speak in debate, however, would require a motion to Suspend the Rules or the adoption of specialized rules for the meeting.

And if it is a limitation, does it not require a 2/3 vote to gain approval either as part of a set of rules or as a motion?

Yes. See RONR, 11th ed., pg. 193, lines 5-8; pg. 265, lines 11-23; pg. 619, line 23 - pg. 620, line 14.

Edited by Josh Martin

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The issue revolves around rule-making to limit the time and the people who may speak for candidates.

On p.191, ll.19-27, RONR (11th ed.) spells out the specific ways in which the motion to limit or extend the limits of debate can limit debate or extend the limits of debate. While imposing time limits may prevent everyone who wishes to debate from doing so, nothing in that paragraph indicates that this motion can be used to prevent any individual member or members from particpating in debate. In my view, such an attempt should be ruled out of order.

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Debate also gives candidates a chance to introduce themselves and explain their platforms. While a Q+A session normally would not occur, as members have a right to speak twice, the Chairman might be rise to allow the candidates to speak first, then allow for debate from others, and when debate seems to be winding down, to all on the candidates once again to speak for a second time.

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On p.191, ll.19-27, RONR (11th ed.) spells out the specific ways in which the motion to limit or extend the limits of debate can limit debate or extend the limits of debate. While imposing time limits may prevent everyone who wishes to debate from doing so, nothing in that paragraph indicates that this motion can be used to prevent any individual member or members from particpating in debate. In my view, such an attempt should be ruled out of order.

Fair enough, but the example the poster has provided of the type of motion they are considering seems comparable to the motion described in RONR, 11th ed., pg. 196, lines 25-31... although I admit that the more I look at it the more it gives me pause. In addition to the bit which gives non-members the right to speak in debate, the bit about setting a time limit for an individual candidate strikes me as odd.

Debate also gives candidates a chance to introduce themselves and explain their platforms. While a Q+A session normally would not occur, as members have a right to speak twice, the Chairman might be rise to allow the candidates to speak first, then allow for debate from others, and when debate seems to be winding down, to all on the candidates once again to speak for a second time.

There is no rule in RONR which would justify the chair giving the candidates preference in recognition.

If members want a Q&A session they should adopt appropriate rules to facilitate that.

If an overall time-limit for a candidate is set at, say, 10 minutes and only that candidate can choose who speaks.....

:wacko: ???????

Are you questioning whether the motion is in order or whether it's a good idea? I think the motion would be in order, although the more I look at it the more heavily I lean toward the idea that adopting a rule for the session (or a special rule of order, if they want it to last beyond the session) is the only proper way to do it. I won't dispute that the motion does not seem like a good idea.

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...only that candidate can choose who speaks...

You're okay except for that piece. The candidate has no control over who speaks for (or against) his, or anyone else's, candidacy, and any attempt to adopt such a rule would probably be out of order.

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I was questioning the authority of the candidate to determine what members get to exercise their right to debate his nomination.

You're okay except for that piece. The candidate has no control over who speaks for (or against) his, or anyone else's, candidacy, and any attempt to adopt such a rule would probably be out of order.

Suppose an assembly wished to adopt a rule for a meeting providing that for debate on a certain issue, the debate would be limited to a certain time (say, an hour) to be divided equally between the two sides, with the appointed leaders of each side (named in the rule) controlling which members shall speak for each side, and for how long. Is such a rule in order? Why or why not? If the rule is in order, then why would the rule mentioned by the original poster not be in order?

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Suppose an assembly wished to adopt a rule for a meeting providing that for debate on a certain issue, the debate would be limited to a certain time (say, an hour) to be divided equally between the two sides, with the appointed leaders of each side (named in the rule) controlling which members shall speak for each side, and for how long. Is such a rule in order? Why or why not? If the rule is in order, then why would the rule mentioned by the original poster not be in order?

It would be, if you were in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, not so much. The impediment would be that debate time, in general, cannot be "yielded" under RONR, as it is under House rules, and that's the mechanism that's used in the House to control debate.

But I suppose a Special Rule of Order could get around that. A bylaws amendment certainly could.

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It would be, if you were in the House of Representatives. Otherwise, not so much. The impediment would be that debate time, in general, cannot be "yielded" under RONR, as it is under House rules, and that's the mechanism that's used in the House to control debate.

But I suppose a Special Rule of Order could get around that. A bylaws amendment certainly could.

Quite so, and presumably, a convention standing rule (or the equivalent) to this effect would also be in order. The same applies to the motion the original poster referenced.

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