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parkourninja

Minority Protection and 2/3 Vote Conflict

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I am aware that one of the fundamental rights of RONR is protection of the minority, hence the use of 2/3 votes for motions like previous question and limit debate. My question arises when a 2/3 vote is equal to majority, such as when the assembly consists of only 6 voting members.

 

In that case, a majority would be able to hinder the minority of rights like debate, because they also have 2/3 and could therefore pass motions like previous question. Does Robert's Rules mention anything about this scenario?

 

Would it ever make sense to require a 5/6 vote when the assembly consists of 6 voting members?

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In that case, a majority would be able to hinder the minority of rights like debate, because they also have 2/3 and could therefore pass motions like previous question. Does Robert's Rules mention anything about this scenario?

No.

Would it ever make sense to require a 5/6 vote when the assembly consists of 6 voting members?

The assembly is free to adopt a special rule of order requiring a 5/6 vote (or whatever vote it pleases) for certain motions if it wishes to do so. Adopting a special rule of order requires a 2/3 vote with previous notice or a vote of a majority of the entire membership without notice. Whether it makes sense to do so will depend on the assembly.

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The situation you present is a special case in which a 2/3 vote is also a majority vote. I'm pretty sure that only occurs with a total membership of 6 and 4 - at least I can't think of any other numbers right away. The ultimate voting authority granted by RONR is to a majority of the entire membership, which can adopt anything a majority vote or a 2/3 vote can adopt, and can also do so without previous notice in situations where such notice is required.

 

So in your case a majority can indeed limit the rights of the minority, but only because it is also a majority of the entire membership. In RONR-land if a majority of the entire membership can agree, they can pretty much do whatever they want. As noted by Mr. Martin, you could adopt a special rule of order requiring a higher vote threshold, but be aware that if the majority is also a majority of the entire membership, they can suspend that rule without prior notice.

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The ultimate voting authority granted by RONR is to a majority of the entire membership, which can adopt anything a majority vote or a 2/3 vote can adopt, and can also do so without previous notice in situations where such notice is required.

There are plenty of motions in RONR which require a 2/3 vote and do not permit a vote of a majority of the entire membership as an alternative (including the two motions the OP asked about).

As noted by Mr. Martin, you could adopt a special rule of order requiring a higher vote threshold, but be aware that if the majority is also a majority of the entire membership, they can suspend that rule without prior notice.

The motion to Suspend the Rules ordinarily requires a 2/3 vote for its adoption and does not permit a majority of the entire membership as an alternative. Additionally, when the rule in question protects a minority of a specified size, the motion to Suspend the Rules cannot be adopted in the face of a minority of at least that size. As a consequence, if a special rule of order is adopted which requires a 5/6 vote for motions to limit or end debate, a 5/6 vote is required to suspend this rule.

A majority of the entire membership would be sufficient to amend the rule, but a motion to amend a special rule of order (unlike the incidental motion to suspend the rules) could only be made while no other motion is pending and is debatable.

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