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Guest Mike Phillips

illegal vote validity

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Guest Mike Phillips

I understand that a voting body can usurp their by-laws if they vote to do so. But if the body does not vote to do so, and the chair allows an illegal vote to be taken and doesn't allow for points of order, then my question has several paths:

 

Is the vote valid and/or binding or is it void?

 

If the vote (highly contested) is allowed to stand - are there legal repercussions?

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...

 

1.  I'm guessing that by "usurp" you mean what parliamentarians (and aspiring parliamentarians like me) call "suspend."  Yes? -- If not, please clarify.

-- 1 (a).  Bylaws cannot be suspended, with two exceptions, period.  (The exceptions are:  clauses which explicitly allow for their own suspension; and "rules clearly identifiable as in the nature of rules of order [RONR 11th Ed., p. 17, and good luck with that]".)

 

2.  Sometimes... it may depend on the circumstances.  Which are?

 

3.  This is the world's premiere Internet parliamentary forum -- sorry, we don't do legal here.

 

[Edited to add last sentence in Item 1.]

Edited by Gary c Tesser

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In the order asked...  (although this all seems a bit hypothetical since the major premise: "can usurp their by-laws" is not really correct - yes, a majority "can" decline to enforce bylaws in an instance but that doesn't "usurp" them, it just delays judgment day until another point of order is raised (if proper).  If the chair is not "allowing" points of order it is time to get a new chair who choses not to be a dictator.)

 

Vote valid or void?  Strictly, valid because of no timely point of order.  If one was raised, and the dictator "blocked" it, then you have, I think, a good later argument that the vote is void instead - p. 251(d&e) - as it is  "basic right" of a member to make (proper) motions and a point of order is one such motion in the circumstances.

 

Legal? If someone goes to court, sure.  But we don't do legal here.

 

But the way out of your problem is to get a presiding officer who understands the rule of law, and that the "laws" - procedure rules in our case here - apply to him as well.

 

The nature of the "illegality" (better "impropriety" in an RONR context) of the vote might make a difference, too.

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If one was raised, and the dictator "blocked" it, then you have, I think, a good later argument that the vote is void instead - p. 251(d&e) - as it is  "basic right" of a member to make (proper) motions and a point of order is one such motion in the circumstances.

 

I disagree. I believe a Point of Order could (and should) be raised to protect against such actions in the future, but the fact that the chair refused to recognize a Point of Order regarding the motion's validity does not, in and of itself, make the motion or the vote void.

 

I understand that a voting body can usurp their by-laws if they vote to do so.

 

This understanding is generally incorrect.

 

But if the body does not vote to do so, and the chair allows an illegal vote to be taken and doesn't allow for points of order, then my question has several paths:

 

Is the vote valid and/or binding or is it void?

 

It depends. Generally speaking, a Point of Order must be raised at the time of the violation, but some violations are so egregious that they constitute a "continuing breach," in which case a Point of Order can be raised at any time so long as the breach continues. Since this apparently involves a violation of the bylaws, that seems like a definite possibility here, but we'd need more facts to know for sure. Such violations will often constitute continuing breaches even if the assembly consents to them.

 

For future reference, there are tools to use when the chair refuses to allow for a Point of Order or Appeal. See RONR, 11th ed., pgs. 650-653 for more information.

 

If the vote (highly contested) is allowed to stand - are there legal repercussions?

 

As noted above, it depends on the circumstances whether it stands from a parliamentary perspective. Legal questions are beyond the scope of this forum.

Edited by Josh Martin

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