Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums
Guest Vicky Long

What constitutes a quorum

Recommended Posts

Guest Vicky Long

In a church setting how does one determine a quorum is present?  Members have voting rights.  We have over 200 members but only have approx 45 individuals attending at one time and not all of them are members.  Is this when we should be mailing out proxys to acheive at least 50% of the membership?  It has been the practice lately to go ahead and vote on the matter counting those present who have voting rights, and if more than 50% vote one way or the other they consider it offical.  Is this correct?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 It has been the practice lately to go ahead and vote on the matter counting those present who have voting rights, and if more than 50% vote one way or the other they consider it offical.  Is this correct?

I would say for the most part, yes, that is correct, unless you have a bylaw provision or rule specifying what a quorum is for voting purposes.   RONR addresses the issue of a quorum at meetings of church assemblies in two places, page 21 and page 346.  Here is what is said on page 346.  Perhaps it will give you some guidance:

 

"In organizations such as many churches or some societies in which there are no required or effective annual dues and the register of members is not generally reliable as a list of the bona-fide members, the quorum at any regular or properly called meeting consists of those who attend."

 

Here is the language from page 21:

 

"In a mass meeting, or in a regular or properly called meeting of an organization whose bylaws do not prescribe a quorum and whose membership is loosely determined (as, for example, in many church congregations or alumni associations), there is no minimum number of members who must be present for the valid transaction of business, or—as it is usually expressed—the quorum consists of those who attend the meeting. (The rules relating to the quorum are more fully stated in 40.)"

 

Do your bylaws or rules specify the quorum requirement?  If so, that is what will be controlling.

 

You are correct in your assumption that a majority vote is the usual requirement for adoption of most motions, but there are many exceptions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Is this when we should be mailing out proxys to acheive at least 50% of the membership?

No.

Proxies are not allowed under Robert's Rules of Order.

 

If your bylaws do allow for proxy voting, then look to your bylaws for administrative rules how to accomplish it.

The Book will not be of help in this regard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Q1.) In a church setting how does one determine a quorum is present? 

...

Members have voting rights. 

We have over 200 members.

But only have approx 45 individuals attending at one time and

not all of them are members.

 

Q2.) It has been the practice lately to go ahead and vote on the matter,

counting those present who have voting rights,

and if more than 50% vote one way or the other they consider it offical. 

Is this correct?

A1.) A quorum, by default, is more than half of the membership who are entitled to vote.

 

A2.) No.  That is not quite correct.

 

You don't count "50% who vote one way or another."

You are to count "votes cast." -- And not to take into account the percentage/ratio of people who did cast votes.

 

Example, to draw the distinction of what to count:

* In a room of 45 members who are empowered to vote,

if 44 abstain,

then the vote result will be either

1-0 (adoption) or

0-1 (rejection).

 

That vote is a valid adoption / a valid rejection.

 

It makes no difference that only 2% (one out of 45) of the members empowered to vote chose to participate in the balloting.

 

So if you are expecting 50% of the membership present to cast ballots as a baseline for your calculation, you are not conforming to Robert's Rules of Order.

You are to count votes cast, and ignore abstentions, ignore the number of members present.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You don't count "50% who vote one way or another."

You are to count "votes cast." -- And not to take into account the percentage/ratio of people who did cast votes.

.........................

So if you are expecting 50% of the membership present to cast ballots as a baseline for your calculation, you are not conforming to Robert's Rules of Order.

You are to count votes cast, and ignore abstentions, ignore the number of members present.

I  concur with Mr. Goldsworthy.  My 11:35 pm response did not pay quite enough attention to guest Vicky's statement of how she would calculate whether a motion is adopted.

 

I also agree...and said in my response.... that she should look to her bylaws for a quorum requirement.  But, since the first words of her post were "In a church setting how does one determine a quorum is present?", I posted the answer from RONR with the proviso that she should look to her bylaws for a quorum requirement.

 

I also agree that proxies should not be allowed unless their bylaws authorize their use or state law requires it.  I was assuming that their bylaws do allow for proxies, but perhaps should have addressed that point to make sure she is aware of it.

 

Sometimes midnight responses fall a bit short.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also agree...and said in my response.... that she should look to her bylaws for a quorum requirement.  But, since the first words of her post were "In a church setting how does one determine a quorum is present?", I posted the answer from RONR with the proviso that she should look to her bylaws for a quorum requirement.

 

The default answer in RONR for churches, however, assumes that the church does not have a reliable list of its members. Since the OP has a pretty good idea of how many members the church has, I'm not sure that's the case here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...