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Hi! I'm brand new to ALLLLL of this, so thank you in advance for helping me however you can. 

the nutshell version: Is there a way to 1) see if an organization is using RR without even realizing it? Like maybe the student government established RR/Parliamentary Procedure as their standard many years ago, and the language got lost of the years. Are there certain markers I could look for to see this? and 2) if not, can I use RR/PP anyways when it comes to helping us make a major decision? Can it just be a catch-all standard? 

longer version: issues with voting and elections in student government at a university. They have bylaws and a constitution, but nothing that deals with this exact scenario. RR/PP has a solution, and it could seriously help us move forward, but I don't know if I *can* use RR/PP without 1) seeing if its an established precedence of the SGA or if 2) maybe they use it without even knowing. LOL, I don't even know if this makes sense! 

 

Thank you! 

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Well, do the bylaws or other rules say anything about any parliamentary manual?  If they are using a different manual, and that manual is silent, then RONR can be cited as persuasive but not decisive.  If the manual covers the question, then you need to use it.

Assuming there's nothing about a parliamentary manual, the next question is whether you've developed a custom of relying RONR.  That's harder to see without being around for a while.  

Next, if there's no custom, you should be following common parliamentary law, which is often similar to RONR.  Finally, and as a consequence, in those cases you can cite RONR as persuasive, not decisive.  That is, you can say "here's a useful looking solution."

Or, you can use whatever process there is for amending your bylaws to adopt RONR as your parliamentary manual.  Alternatively, you can move to adopt it as a rule for the session.

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Are you sure that the bylaws or other governing documents don't prescribe a parliamentary authority (manual) for use by the assembly?  If so, you are bound to follow the rules in that manual.

If your organization truly has not adopted a parliamentary authority, you are assumed to be bound by the "common parliamentary law" which has been laid down over the centuries.  RONR is based on the common parliamentary law and sometimes said to be a codification of it. 

This what RONR says on page 17 about organizations that have not adopted a parliamentary manual:  "Although it is unwise for an assembly or a society to attempt to function without formally adopted rules of order, a recognized parliamentary manual may be cited under such conditions as persuasive. Or, by being followed through long-established custom in an organization, a particular manual may acquire a status within the body similar to that of an adopted parliamentary authority. "

So, your association might be... or can be.... using RONR (or some other manual) as its parliamentary authority based on custom.

Keep checking back.  I imagine others will elaborate.

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Thank you all! I will go back through the bylaws to see if they mention anything. Honestly, this is an organization that hasn't been very, well....organized in the past few years. Their procedures and customs seem to mostly stem from RONR, but a lot were made up by student leaders and have been adopted as "the way we do it." This is a university student government. 

The problem I'm dealing with is the election result. We had 3 choices, and no clear majority winner. We didn't state anything prior to note that this was a vote by plurality. I'll have to go back and see if we actually do say anything about how a winner is determined. My guess is no, b/c the students wouldn't have ever thought we needed it spelled out. 

So, according to what I can find online, balloting must continue until there is a clear majority. It sounds like, based on the answers here, that I can say we are bound by common parliamentary law, which means I *CAN* use RONR when determining the next steps in this election. 

For context, 2174 people voted. The top two choices had 768 and 790 votes. The third choice had about 600. 

Edited by SGA Advisor

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7 minutes ago, SGA Advisor said:

So, according to what I can find online, balloting must continue until there is a clear majority. It sounds like, based on the answers here, that I can say we are bound by common parliamentary law, which means I *CAN* use RONR when determining the next steps in this election. 

 

Well, it means you can regard RONR as persuasive.  RONR is not the common parliamentary law, but it's a reasonably good guide.  

It's also not clear to me, based on your username, that this is up to you.  Is there some rule in place allowing you (presumably, a non-member) to tell the organization how to interpret its own rules?  Doesn't it have a chair who can make a ruling?

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4 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Well, it means you can regard RONR as persuasive.  RONR is not the common parliamentary law, but it's a reasonably good guide.  

It's also not clear to me, based on your username, that this is up to you.  Is there some rule in place allowing you (presumably, a non-member) to tell the organization how to interpret its own rules?  Doesn't it have a chair who can make a ruling?

True, I can only advise them on this decision. 

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9 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

  RONR is not the common parliamentary law, but it's a reasonably good guide.  

I agree that RONR is not "the" common parliamentary law, but as noted in the first sentence of its Introduction, it "...embodies a codification of the present-day general parliamentary law (omitting provisions having no application outside legislative bodies)."

 

9 hours ago, SGA Advisor said:

Thank you all! I will go back through the bylaws to see if they mention anything. Honestly, this is an organization that hasn't been very, well....organized in the past few years. Their procedures and customs seem to mostly stem from RONR, but a lot were made up by student leaders and have been adopted as "the way we do it." This is a university student government. 

The problem I'm dealing with is the election result. We had 3 choices, and no clear majority winner. We didn't state anything prior to note that this was a vote by plurality. I'll have to go back and see if we actually do say anything about how a winner is determined. My guess is no, b/c the students wouldn't have ever thought we needed it spelled out. 

So, according to what I can find online, balloting must continue until there is a clear majority. It sounds like, based on the answers here, that I can say we are bound by common parliamentary law, which means I *CAN* use RONR when determining the next steps in this election. 

For context, 2174 people voted. The top two choices had 768 and 790 votes. The third choice had about 600. 

With this many votes having been cast, I suspect that voting took place outside of a meeting context, in which event there must be rules contained somewhere in this organization's Constitution or Bylaws authorizing votes to be taken in this manner. If so, what do these rules provide concerning how, when, and to whom the results of an election are to be reported? Are you sure that these rules do not provide for election by plurality vote? Under the circumstances, it seems to me that providing for election by plurality vote may make a lot of sense.

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This sounds like something akin to a public election of a representative body.  A student senate type thing?  The voters, as such would not be members of the body in that case. 

If so, that body may be able to establish rules, that do not conflict with the bylaws. 

If this is the case, however, it will be well beyond the scope of this board, because much of it would be bylaw based. 

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