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Unanimous votes


Guest Anthony Acosta

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In a group of six, if there is an obvious unanimous vote is there a need to ask for a no vote or abstention?

There is a need to call for the no votes. See RONR, 11th ed., pg. 45, lines 4-6.

It is not necessary or proper to ask for abstentions unless the vote is taken by roll call, regardless of whether the vote is close or not. See RONR, 11th ed., pg. 45, lines 14-19.

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Guest Edgar

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In a group of six, if there is an obvious unanimous vote is there a need to ask for a no vote or abstention?

There is a need to call for the no votes.

Certainly, if the "yes" votes were called for.

But, in many instances, if the chair is reasonably certain there will be no objection to a certain question, he could ask that it be adopted by unanimous consent (see p.488).

Though Mr. Acosta should be wary of using the term "unanimous vote". Many will assume it means that all the members present voted in favor when, in fact, it means only that all the members who voted were in favor (i.e. some members could abstain and the vote could still be considered "unanimous").

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But if there are six people in the room (I assume the Chairman is one of them), and the other five all put up their hands when asked why would RONR still require the Chairman to ask for a vote?

I expect the rule doesn't provide an exception of "unless you're really, really sure" because it's a bit too wishy-washy. :)

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In a group of six, if there is an obvious unanimous vote is there a need to ask for a no vote or abstention?

By strict rules - Yes.

But, If you do not and no one objects at the time, then there is no penalty. This is not something that will cause the motion to be overturned at a later date.

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By strict rules - Yes.

Only for the no votes, not for the abstentions.

But, If you do not and no one objects at the time, then there is no penalty. This is not something that will cause the motion to be overturned at a later date.

While this is of course correct, I hope you're not recommending that the chair "forget" to call for the votes in the negative.

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While this is of course correct, I hope you're not recommending that the chair "forget" to call for the votes in the negative.

All I will say is that when I chair in a small group, I will not do something that is absurd just because it is proper.

So if everyone votes yes, I will not waste time waiting for no. In fact, if the group was only 6 folks and I got 4 yes, I will not call for nos.

Just announce motion carries, wait a beat and then move on. Only thing in minutes is the motion and if it was approved, not vote counts, so no need to waste time.

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All I will say is that when I chair in a small group, I will not do something that is absurd just because it is proper.

So if everyone votes yes, I will not waste time waiting for no. In fact, if the group was only 6 folks and I got 4 yes, I will not call for nos.

Just announce motion carries, wait a beat and then move on. Only thing in minutes is the motion and if it was approved, not vote counts, so no need to waste time.

I can see an argument for calling for no votes to be absurd when it is clear that all members have voted in the affirmative, but I cannot accept that it is absurd or a waste of time simply because it is clear that the motion will pass. Members have a right to express their opinion by vote, even when it is already clear they will be on the losing side.

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All I will say is that when I chair in a small group, I will not do something that is absurd just because it is proper.

So if everyone votes yes, I will not waste time waiting for no. In fact, if the group was only 6 folks and I got 4 yes, I will not call for nos.

Just announce motion carries, wait a beat and then move on. Only thing in minutes is the motion and if it was approved, not vote counts, so no need to waste time.

Please. I'm sure if we think for a moment we will find that we all do dozens of absurd things every day just because they are proper.

As for myself, when I hear a chair call for the Ayes, and "forget" to call for the Noes, it suggests to me that the chair is less than completely competent and irritates me somewhat--enough to raise a point of order if it happens routinely.

In the case of four Yes votes, failing to call for the No votes is clearly improper, as it deprives those opposed of their right to vote. There's nothing absurd about preserving fundamental rights.

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I expect the rule doesn't provide an exception of "unless you're really, really sure" because it's a bit too wishy-washy. :)

It's not wishy-washy to me. Although, the Chairman could as for the motion to be accepted by Unanimous Consent if it looks like everyone is in favour of the motion. But it does seem a bit unreasonable to require the Chairman to ask for no votes if everyone votes yes.

And while it seems reasonable that if a majority has voted yes, I do understand the request for a no vote to allow a member to vote no. That does make sense. However, if everyone (and I do mean everyone) has voted yes, it is obvious that no one will be voting no. Mind you, with the exception of a small group, there is always that chance that someone may not have voted - so in general the rule that the Chairman must ask for no votes does in the end make sense.

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