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[Chair asking for negative points of discussion]


LaVern
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2 hours ago, LaVern said:

does the presiding officer have the authority to ask if any members would enter Negative points of discussion as to the main motion?

Agreeing with Mr. Huynh, the chair should not have to ask of anyone is opposed to the motion, but he may of course do so.  Debate is the time for all members wishing to speak on the motion.. both those in favor of the motion and those opposed to it... to make their arguments.

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One (slightly) subtle way for the chair to generate some balance in debate can come about like this...

A series of (properly called upon) speakers all debate in favor, and no "Nay-sayer" shows up to offer his viewpoint.  The chair might say "We have heard from [a number of] speakers in favor...  are you ready to vote on the question?"  Then pause and look around to see if there are any nay-sayers in the meeting.  No point prolonging debate when "everybody" favors the motion.

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I agree with jstackpo's suggestion.  There is no way the Chairman is going to know, in advance, which way a speaker will go (for or against a motion), prior to the member speaking.  But no one may be against a motion (there is absolutely nothing wrong with a unanimous decision) or members may not have an opinion (they are free to abstain from voting as well).  Or members who have spoken in favour of a motion have convinced others to support a motion.  Or even if I am against a motion, if enough members are in favour it may not be worth the energy to prolong the decision by speaking out against the motion.

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Presiding officers seeking authority to ask if any members are of the negative opinion on a motion might want to review item 3 of the rules for preference in being recognized, RONR (11th ed.)., p. 31, ll. 8-17, which not only contemplate the chair explicitly seeking counter opinion, but in appropriate circumstances even giving preference to such opinion when recognizing members seeking the floor during debate (as is recommended in other comment in this thread, which speak of alternating opinions pro vs con, when possible).  The chair should remain impartial during a debate; but there are circumstances under which the chair may seek and give preference to opposing opinion without violating impartiality.

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When I chair our Union meetings (usually 25-30 people), and there has only been discussion on one side of a motion, I will ask if anyone wants to speak for the other side of the motion.  If no one does I suggest that we proceed with the vote. I generally do not know who is on what side of an issue so I can't go back and forth.

 

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14 minutes ago, bmunroe said:

When I chair our Union meetings (usually 25-30 people), and there has only been discussion on one side of a motion, I will ask if anyone wants to speak for the other side of the motion.  If no one does I suggest that we proceed with the vote. I generally do not know who is on what side of an issue so I can't go back and forth.

I see nothing wrong with the way you are doing  it.  It seems fine to me.

btw, I am assuming you are not the same person as the original poster.  Is that correct?

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph
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