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Calling for "Acclamation"


Guest Che
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My organization has had a years-long tradition in which someone calls "Acclamation" when it came time to vote. The chair then says, "Acclamation has been called; is there any dissent?" Seeing none, the motion is approved by consensus. If there is dissent, then the chair moves to a form of countable voting. 

I have searched various sources for this "rule," and I cannot find one. Can someone please answer the following:

1. Is calling "Acclamation" an actual allowable rule? I am familiar with the chair using the phrase "If there is no objection..." as a way to approve some motions by consensus, but I cannot find this particular phrase.

2. Members of my organization have taken to voting by consensus for everything, including main motions (beyond simply procedural actions such as approving the minutes and adjourning the meeting) and amendments. I am trying to convey to them that an actual voice or counted vote needs to occur. Can someone point me to sections of RR that I can use as a referral?

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

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Unanimous consent can be very helpful on matters not expected to be controversial.  When presiding, I rely on it heavily to save time.  I have no idea why you have people calling for it who are not the chair, and who haven't even been recognized (not that that would help).  It can also be used to gavel through items or, even worse, to (intentionally or otherwise) create a situation where a motion passes despite strong opposition because everyone thinks they'd be the only objector and thus keeps quiet.  That's why it shouldn't be used on items which might be controversial.  I don't know where the "Acclamation" language comes from.  I don't think being an original main motion automatically means it is improper to as for objection and use unanimous consent, the content and context matter.

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The term you're looking for in RONR is unanimous consent.   Yes, it's an allowable rule but it's used a little differently than you describe.

Any member may make a unanimous consent request instead of making a motion: 

Ms. A (having been recognized): I ask unanimous consent that our guest, Mr. G be permitted to address the assembly with respect to his snow-removal proposal"

Chair:  Is there objection? <pause> The chair hears none. Mr. G is invited to come forward and address the assembly.

Or, the chair, when assuming a motion on which he expects no controversy can phrase the question as:

Chair:  If there is no objection, we will take a ten minute recess; is there objection? <pause>  Hearing none, we are in recess.

Once a motion is moved, and placed before the assembly, and possibly debated, it is too late to ask for unanimous consent.  Motions offered for unanimous consent are not debatable, and motions that are moved normally are put to a vote, unless otherwise disposed of.  A voice vote hardly takes longer than a <pause> for unanimous consent, so there's no hardship to observing this rule.

If anyone objects to the use of unanimous consent, he has only to say "I object" or "Objection".  Note that this is not "dissent" which would mean opposition to adopting the motion.  It is an objection to the use of unanimous consent, presumably because he wishes to hear the motion debated, or wishes to offer an amendment.  In that case, the chair would proceed to handle the motion normally.

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15 hours ago, Guest Che said:

1. Is calling "Acclamation" an actual allowable rule? I am familiar with the chair using the phrase "If there is no objection..." as a way to approve some motions by consensus, but I cannot find this particular phrase.

2. Members of my organization have taken to voting by consensus for everything, including main motions (beyond simply procedural actions such as approving the minutes and adjourning the meeting) and amendments. I am trying to convey to them that an actual voice or counted vote needs to occur. Can someone point me to sections of RR that I can use as a referral?

1. It’s called unanimous consent, but yes. In the event of an objection, however, the chair should first see if there is any further debate on the motion, rather than immediately taking a vote. As has also been noted, the member should seek recognition.

2. No. Unanimous consent can be used for pretty much any motion in place of a vote. The only exceptions I can think of are if the bylaws require a ballot vote, if the motion would have the effect of undermining the secrecy of a ballot vote which has already been taken, or a vote on the charges and/or penalty in disciplinary procedures (unless the penalty is simply to require the member to leave for the duration of the meeting).

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13 minutes ago, SaintCad said:

I suppose this could be handled as a call for Division when the member (and Chair presumably) assumes there would be unanimous consent.

You suppose that saying "I object" when the chair asks if there is any dissent, as we are told happens here, could be treated as a call for a standing vote?

Well, perhaps it could be so treated, but it shouldn't be. 

 

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6 minutes ago, SaintCad said:

Sorry not enough coffee.

I realized after I left my computer that I didn't make it clear was that I was suggesting the OP call for a Division after the "acclamation" to force an actual vote.

That's still pretty iffy.  If the member wants a vote, or debate, or an opportunity to amend, or any other disposition, he should object when unanimous consent is sought.  Division is a method to call into question the result of a vote.  If no vote has taken place, and the question was decided without objection, I don't think Division would be appropriate.

It would be a Good Thing if the chair would use the proper terminology and procedure.  Acclamation has an actual meaning in RONR, but relating to electing an unopposed candidate without a vote, where the bylaws allow it.

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  • 1 month later...
On 9/28/2017 at 7:05 PM, Gary Novosielski said:

The term you're looking for in RONR is unanimous consent.   Yes, it's an allowable rule but it's used a little differently than you describe.

[snip]

Or, the chair, when assuming a motion on which he expects no controversy can phrase the question as:

Chair:  If there is no objection, we will take a ten minute recess; is there objection? <pause>  Hearing none, we are in recess.

 

Regarding an assumed motion, does the status of a motion being assumed by the chair remove the requirement that a member actually move it, or does the chair need to verify his/her assumption is correct by asking if there is such a motion? For example, assume the assembly has a fixed time to adjourn, and that time is approaching. Can the chair say, unprompted, "The time to adjourn is approaching, so if there is no objection, the pending question will be postponed until the next regular meeting. [pause]. Since there is no objection..." (assuming the next meeting is within three months). Or, must the chair first ask if there is such a motion from the assembly, prompting a member to then move it, and only then the chair says, " if there is no objection, the pending question will be postponed until the next regular meeting."

Edited by Setemu
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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

There are very few situations in which it is appropriate for the chair to assume a motion (see the Index). In your example, if the next meeting will be held within a quarterly time interval, the pending question comes up automatically under Unfinished Business and no postponement is required.

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Am I correct in understanding that if a single member calls for "acclamation", then debate is brought to a close?

If so, it sounds like it's two votes in one: one for the Previous Question, and one for the main motion, both by unanimous consent.

I am by no means an authority (I basically just know what I learned at... well, let's call them Breadexperts), but to me this sounds reasonable assuming everyone involved understands.

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4 minutes ago, Benjamin Geiger said:

Am I correct in understanding that if a single member calls for "acclamation", then debate is brought to a close?

If so, it sounds like it's two votes in one: one for the Previous Question, and one for the main motion, both by unanimous consent.

I am by no means an authority (I basically just know what I learned at... well, let's call them Breadexperts), but to me this sounds reasonable assuming everyone involved understands.

No. See FAQ #11.

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2 hours ago, Setemu said:

Regarding an assumed motion, does the status of a motion being assumed by the chair remove the requirement that a member actually move it, or does the chair need to verify his/her assumption is correct by asking if there is such a motion? For example, assume the assembly has a fixed time to adjourn, and that time is approaching. Can the chair say, unprompted, "The time to adjourn is approaching, so if there is no objection, the pending question will be postponed until the next regular meeting. [pause]. Since there is no objection..." (assuming the next meeting is within three months). Or, must the chair first ask if there is such a motion from the assembly, prompting a member to then move it, and only then the chair says, " if there is no objection, the pending question will be postponed until the next regular meeting."

See Official Interpretation 2007-1.

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3 minutes ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

"My organization has had a years-long tradition in which someone calls "Acclamation" when it came time to vote. " [emphasis added]

This is not a motion for the Previous Question; it is a call for unanimous consent.

I stand corrected. I misread the statement. Thanks.

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