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Reconsider - Questioning a member's affirmation.


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When a vote has been taken by voice or perhaps a rising vote, and a member moves to reconsider the vote, affirming that he voted on the prevailing side, can that affirmation be properly challenged by another member via a point of order that the member making the motion to resconsider did not vote with the prevailing side?

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When a vote has been taken by voice or perhaps a rising vote, and a member moves to reconsider the vote, affirming that he voted on the prevailing side, can that affirmation be properly challenged by another member via a point of order that the member making the motion to resconsider did not vote with the prevailing side?

Yes, if, for example, the member making the motion to reconsider was apparently under the wrong impression as to which side was the prevailing side. Confusion as to which side is the prevailing side does arise from time to time, as we know from questions which have been posted on various occasions here in RONR's Q&A Forum.

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When a vote has been taken by voice or perhaps a rising vote, and a member moves to reconsider the vote, affirming that he voted on the prevailing side, can that affirmation be properly challenged by another member via a point of order that the member making the motion to resconsider did not vote with the prevailing side?

I concur with Mr. Honemann that a Point of Order is appropriate if, for instance, the member is confused about which side was the prevailing side, or was perhaps unaware of the "prevailing side" rule to begin with.

On the other hand, questioning whether the member is truthfully reporting his vote is highly inappropriate.

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On the other hand, questioning whether the member is truthfully reporting his vote is highly inappropriate.

Indeed, this is the heart of my question and contentious meetings and factions within an assembly are a reality as we all know. In such a case, where the point is made as to truthfulness rather than confusion (and the point is clear as to that fact), my opinion is the chair should always side with member who states he voted with the prevailing side, and I'm still not sure it should always be entertained in such an instance given how highly inappropriate it is, which is why I asked the question.

Confusion as to what is the prevailing side, is certainly something that needs addressed, without question.

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Guest Edgar

. . . my opinion is the chair should always side with member who states he voted with the prevailing side . . .

Even in instances when it's clear to everyone, including the chair, that he did not? For example, in a rising vote where the member in question was the only one who stood when the chair called for the "nays" (and all the other members stood when the "ayes" were called for)?

What then is the assembly's recourse? A motion of censure for lying?

If I were the chair I think I'd rule the motion (to reconsider) out of order on the grounds that the member making it clearly did not vote on the prevailing side, his claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

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Even in instances when it's clear to everyone, including the chair, that he did not?

I was trying to avoid dramatic examples, but I'm glad you rose to the occasion. What do you think when the chair doesn't notice it and it isn't obvious at all?

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Even in instances when it's clear to everyone, including the chair, that he did not? For example, in a rising vote where the member in question was the only one who stood when the chair called for the "nays" (and all the other members stood when the "ayes" were called for)?

Yes. The rule of RONR, 11th ed., pg. 392, lines 12-25 does not provide an exception of "unless the lie is obvious."

What then is the assembly's recourse? A motion of censure for lying?

Formal disciplinary procedures are required to accuse a member of lying, although these procedures are somewhat abbreviated in the case of an offense occurring during a meeting. Through these procedures, the assembly could choose to censure the member.

In the circumstances, however, it seems more prudent for the assembly to just let it go.

If I were the chair I think I'd rule the motion (to reconsider) out of order on the grounds that the member making it clearly did not vote on the prevailing side, his claim to the contrary notwithstanding.

It's not any more appropriate for the chair to accuse a member of lying.

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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I do think it's decidedly improper to raise a point of order regarding the member's affirmation when the point is clearly confined to the honesty of the affirmation, and I don't think the point should be entertained. As noted, other avenues exist should an assembly insist upon dealing with the member's alleged dishonesty.

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But it would not be inappropriate for the chair to suggest that the member is mistaken.

Are you suggesting that the member is confused about which side is the prevailing side, or something similar? As noted previously, a Point of Order on that subject may be appropriate.

But to suggest that a member is "mistaken" about how he voted is likely disingenous, and it doesn't seem to solve anything unless the member quickly corrects himself. If the member maintains that he voted "Yes" (or whatever), and if the chair continues to assert that he is "mistaken," he's either making a veiled claim that he's lying or is questioning the member's mental faculties, either of which seems indecorous.

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Guest Edgar

I assume this would be different if there were evidence (such as a record of a roll call vote) to the contrary.

Yes, I think that would be fair to assume.

Yes. The rule of RONR, 11th ed., pg. 392, lines 12-25 does not provide an exception of "unless the lie is obvious."

So are there exceptions or are there not?

And how is the eyewitness evidence of every member (save one) in the room any less reliable then the evidence of a roll-call vote?

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So are there exceptions or are there not?

And how is the eyewitness evidence of every member (save one) in the room any less reliable then the evidence of a roll-call vote?

A roll call vote is taken by each member voting individually and the record of the roll call will become a part of the official record of the assembly.

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But to suggest that a member is 'mistaken' about how he voted is likely disingenous, and it doesn't seem to solve anything unless the member quickly corrects himself.

I've always been uncomfortable with some of that paragraph, as some disingenuousness (spelled with two "u's" here east of the equator) seems implicit (or "intrinsic", I sometimes know which but not here) and necessary, as a polite fiction. How flagrantly contrary to fact does a statement by one member have to be before another member points out (or "claims") that it is simply not true (or even "false")?

That, though, is a little beside the point. Let's go with Sean Hunt's case, in which there is an accurate record of a roll-call vote that clearly disproves the member's claim that he voted on the prevailing side. To delicately assert that the member is mistaken might be disingenuous, but to neglect the (generally) incontrovertible evidence that the member's claim is untrue would be a travesty.

I concede that "travesty" does not appear in the index of RONR, 11th Edition (nor in the index of RONR-IB, 2nd Edition, which is a greater disappointment). If I had a computer maybe I could do a word-search of the entire text if I had a CD, but alas! So let us soldier on.

I think a clear, if fine, distinction can be made between the assembly's deciding that the member did not vote on the prevailing side, and the assembly's addressing the member's claim that he did. I think the assembly clearly can choose to do the first, throwing out the reconsideration, while disregarding the second, giving no recognition of the discrepancy between the member's claim and the assembly's decision of what the fact is, and consequently not bothering with any issue of the member's possible lie (so not bothering with any discipline) or mental vacuum (not bothering with sending a disingenuous get-well-soon card).

If the member maintains that he voted 'Yes' (or whatever), and if the chair continues to assert that he is 'mistaken,' he's either making a veiled claim that he's lying or is questioning the member's mental faculties, either of which seems indecorous.

So these are covered. The assembly has the right to decide that something is a fact, and act on it, without addressing at all the assertions of a member to the contrary and without running afoul of the various cited statements, above, from RONR.

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Let's go with Sean Hunt's case, in which there is an accurate record of a roll-call vote that clearly disproves the member's claim that he voted on the prevailing side. To delicately assert that the member is mistaken might be disingenuous, but to neglect the (generally) incontrovertible evidence that the member's claim is untrue would be a travesty.

Presenting ridiculous factual situations such a this, and the one suggested in post #6, serves no useful purpose.

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