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DanishM15

Formal Polls and Suspending the Rules

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Two items: 1) Is there such a thing as a "formal poll" (using electronic voting so everyone's vote is recorded) according to Robert's Rules? What does Robert's Rules have to say about "polls" and if anything at all about "formal polls"? I am aware that Robert's Rules prohibits straw polls, which happen to be informal polls...but what is the ruling in the case of formal polls? 2) If we are dealing with a motion that requires 2/3 majority to pass; is it possible to move to suspend the rules in order to change from 2/3 majority to a simple majority (51%)? If that can be done, would that not strip the minority of its rights? And thus a move to suspending the rules would not be possible? If anyone can help me with these questions I would greatly appreciate it (and if you can provide citations)! Thank you.

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On "formal polls": No, RONR, doesn't define them.

On reducing an adoption threshold from, say, 2/3 to majority: See the (somewhat syntactically challenging) rule #7 on p. 261.

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Two items: 1) Is there such a thing as a "formal poll" (using electronic voting so everyone's vote is recorded) according to Robert's Rules? What does Robert's Rules have to say about "polls" and if anything at all about "formal polls"? I am aware that Robert's Rules prohibits straw polls, which happen to be informal polls...but what is the ruling in the case of formal polls? 2) If we are dealing with a motion that requires 2/3 majority to pass; is it possible to move to suspend the rules in order to change from 2/3 majority to a simple majority (51%)? If that can be done, would that not strip the minority of its rights? And thus a move to suspending the rules would not be possible? If anyone can help me with these questions I would greatly appreciate it (and if you can provide citations)! Thank you.

"Formal polls" would be termed "votes". If it's anything less than that, it's straw, and prohibited.

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1) Is there such a thing as a "formal poll" (using electronic voting so everyone's vote is recorded) according to Robert's Rules?

No.

What does Robert's Rules have to say about "polls" and if anything at all about "formal polls"? I am aware that Robert's Rules prohibits straw polls, which happen to be informal polls...but what is the ruling in the case of formal polls?

Straw polls during a meeting are prohibited. That's the extent of what RONR says about polls. RONR says nothing about "formal" polls and I don't believe RONR would recognize such a distinction. So far as RONR is concerned, it's either a vote or it's not - and if it's not, it's a straw poll.

Voting with electronic voting devices in a meeting is permitted, although some special rules may be advisable. Absentee voting by electronic methods (or any method) is prohibited unless authorized by the Bylaws or mandated by applicable law.

If you want to have a straw poll outside of a meeting, RONR won't stop you, but it also doesn't have any advice on how to handle such a poll.

2) If we are dealing with a motion that requires 2/3 majority to pass; is it possible to move to suspend the rules in order to change from 2/3 majority to a simple majority (51%)?

Yes. Keep in mind, however, that a majority is "more than half," not "51%."

If that can be done, would that not strip the minority of its rights? And thus a move to suspending the rules would not be possible? If anyone can help me with these questions I would greatly appreciate it (and if you can provide citations)!

Yes, it would, but a motion to Suspend the Rules requires a 2/3 vote. So in order to adopt such a motion, the minority would need to let you strip its rights. RONR permits a motion to Suspend the Rules to strip a minority of its rights unless it's opposed by the minority the rule is intended to protect. Based on this principle, if you had, say, a rule which required a 3/4 vote to adopt a motion, you'd need a 3/4 vote to suspend that rule.

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