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Making a motion by ballot


Guest Jim Collins

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Can the word "if" precede a motion?  If voting by ballot to amend something in the By Laws, can you submit a motion that depends on the passage or failure of a preceding vote?

Generally speaking, yes, I'd say that it is in order to make a motion which (even if adopted) will be effective only if a certain condition is met. That condition could be the passage of another motion.

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It's possible, but I think the better procedure would be to add a proviso that says something to the effect that "This shall take effect only if the amendment do do (whatever the triggering event is) is adopted.

 

An alternative is to not even vote on this amendment unless the other event first takes place.

 

Can you give us a bit more information on the situation?

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Thank you, yes.  Under RONR, we are accepting either Revisions or Amendments to update our current By Laws, by ballot only.  One Member wondered if he could vote yes to an entire Revision but submit and amendment and vote No to one element within that Revision.  Therefore, if the Revision passed, he wanted a vote in place by ballot to amend one element of the Revision. The element within the Revision is to raise the membership fee from $1500 to $2000.  He favors everything else in the Revision but this.  His motion would then be "if the Revision is passed, keep the membership fee at $1500 - my words.

 

 

 

 

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Thank you, yes.  Under RONR, we are accepting either Revisions or Amendments to update our current By Laws, by ballot only.  One Member wondered if he could vote yes to an entire Revision but submit and amendment and vote No to one element within that Revision.  Therefore, if the Revision passed, he wanted a vote in place by ballot to amend one element of the Revision. The element within the Revision is to raise the membership fee from $1500 to $2000.  He favors everything else in the Revision but this.  His motion would then be "if the Revision is passed, keep the membership fee at $1500 - my words.

 

Thank you for the additional facts. This motion is not in order. The best way to handle this would be to make a motion to Amend the proposed revision, but if I understand correctly that the revision is being voted on by mail, that complicates things. I think the member may have to wait until after the revision is adopted or lost, and if it is adopted, offer an amendment to revert the membership fee back to $1,500.

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Thank you.  We tried to amend the By Laws last year at our annual Owner's Meeting but we were unable to attain a quorum.  It is unlikely we'll ever reach a quorum given the transient nature of the condominium.  So, we decided to try again this year but to have the vote by ballot only.  Members can offer Amendments to the By Laws or they may offer a total Revision of the By Laws. 

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Thank you.  We tried to amend the By Laws last year at our annual Owner's Meeting but we were unable to attain a quorum.  It is unlikely we'll ever reach a quorum given the transient nature of the condominium.  So, we decided to try again this year but to have the vote by ballot only.  Members can offer Amendments to the By Laws or they may offer a total Revision of the By Laws. 

 

But what do your current bylaws say about amending them? Voting by absentee or mail ballot is just as bad as voting at a meeting without a quorum present unless the bylaws permit doing so.

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Thank you for the additional facts. This motion is not in order. The best way to handle this would be to make a motion to Amend the proposed revision, but if I understand correctly that the revision is being voted on by mail, that complicates things. I think the member may have to wait until after the revision is adopted or lost, and if it is adopted, offer an amendment to revert the membership fee back to $1,500.

 

Provided that voting by mail on bylaws amendments is a legitimate exercise, I think that this type of conditional vote is neither provided for nor excluded by any specific rule in RONR. Why couldn't the ballot say, as the OP suggests, something like:

 

Amendment #4. Reversion of membership fee to current amount. Submitted by Ms. Y.

Assuming that Amendment #3 (proposed revision submitted by Mr. X) is adopted, shall the (revised) bylaws be amended as follows?

In Article III, Section 3, strike out "$2,000" and insert $1,500"

_____ Yes _____ No

(Note: If Amendment #3 is rejected, this vote on Amendment #4 will not have any effect on the membership fee.)

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I believe that if proposal #3 was rejected then proposal #4 would not be in order, as it purposes to do something impossible, or at least of no effect.

And, should #3 pass, then #4 is tantamount to a motion to Reconsider, as it brings the same question again before the assembly.

Wouldn't this thicken the stew somewhat?

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I believe that if proposal #3 was rejected then proposal #4 would not be in order, as it purposes to do something impossible, or at least of no effect.

 

That would be true at a meeting, but since we are dealing with ballot questions rather than business conducted at a meeting, perhaps some leeway is permissible. (Or perhaps not.) I think it's rather clear what the purpose of the question is, though.

 

 

And, should #3 pass, then #4 is tantamount to a motion to Reconsider, as it brings the same question again before the assembly.

 

Not at all. Once the revised bylaws are in effect, the amendment proposes to make a change in the bylaws as they exist, not to undo the adoption of the revision.

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