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suspend rules to allow proxy voting


TheAdvocate
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Ordinarily, our organization does not allow proxy voting. "The number of votes necessary for election/confirmation is a majority of those present and voting. The number of voting members is then determined and the actual number of votes necessary for election is announced," is what our rules state.

But, due to a scheduling conflict, an unusual number of members will be absent from our annual meeting, and I have been told that someone might want to suspend our rules just for that meeting to allow for proxy voting. How might that be accomplished? Would Suspend the Rules do the trick? That would take 2/3, correct?

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I found where it says that proxy voting is not allowed on RONR pp. 428-429. But nowhere in that section does it say that the rule can't be suspended.

If it can't be suspended, what can be done? What if many of the present members of those assembled would like to see proxy voting happen just for that meeting, due to what they see as unusual circumstances?

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56 minutes ago, TheAdvocate said:

I found where it says that proxy voting is not allowed on RONR pp. 428-429. But nowhere in that section does it say that the rule can't be suspended.

“Rules which embody fundamental principles of parliamentary law, such as the rule that allows only one question to be considered at a time (p. 59), cannot be suspended, even by a unanimous vote. Thus, since it is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to the members of an organization who are actually present at the time the vote is taken in a regular or properly called meeting (p. 423), the rules cannot be suspended so as to give the right to vote to a nonmember,*(73) or to authorize absentee (pp. 423–24) voting.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 263)

Proxy voting is a form of absentee voting.

56 minutes ago, TheAdvocate said:

If it can't be suspended, what can be done? What if many of the present members of those assembled would like to see proxy voting happen just for that meeting, due to what they see as unusual circumstances?

The only thing which could potentially be done would be to amend the bylaws. If that is not possible (because, for instance, the deadline for providing notice of amendments has passed), then nothing can be done.

Edited by Josh Martin
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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
2 hours ago, TheAdvocate said:

 "The number of votes necessary for election/confirmation is a majority of those present and voting."

What if they are present but abstain? Then they become voting members who are present but not voting. One interpretation is that this is an ordinary majority vote — more than half of the votes actually cast.

15 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

Proxy voting is a form of absentee voting.

Is it? I thought a proxy is a transfer of voting privilege, which runs afoul of the "one-member-one-vote" rule.

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2 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

 

Is it? I thought a proxy is a transfer of voting privilege, which runs afoul of the "one-member-one-vote" rule.

It is a transference of votes, primarily. 

In many cases, however, a member grants his proxy and then does not attend the meeting.  It can violate the "one-member-one-vote" rule, but also be a form of absentee voting. 

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3 hours ago, TheAdvocate said:

If it can't be suspended, what can be done? What if many of the present members of those assembled would like to see proxy voting happen just for that meeting, due to what they see as unusual circumstances?

It's a side point, because it's out of order anyway, but how would that work?  If they come to the meeting and decide "proxy voting is okay for this meeting," how will they be holding any proxies?

In any case, one thing that can be done is for people to come to the meeting and vote.  Maybe if you serve food and beer, they'll come to that meeting instead of the other conflicting thing.

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6 hours ago, TheAdvocate said:

If it can't be suspended, what can be done? What if many of the present members of those assembled would like to see proxy voting happen just for that meeting, due to what they see as unusual circumstances?

The alternative is to, at the annual meeting, schedule an adjourned meeting and postpone the election until then (the adjourned meeting is a continuation of the current meeting). RONR contemplates this exact situation, although for a different reason, at page 185: "The procedure of postponing such a matter [such as elections] to an adjourned meeting is sometimes advisable, as in an annual meeting for the election of officers on a stormy night when, although a quorum is present, the attendance is abnormally small."

Note that you cannot, in advance, postpone the election to another session.

And, in the future, don't schedule annual meetings during the playoffs 🙂

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12 hours ago, Guest Who's Coming to Dinner said:

Is it? I thought a proxy is a transfer of voting privilege, which runs afoul of the "one-member-one-vote" rule.

Sure, that works too.

”Likewise, since it is a fundamental principle that each member of a deliberative assembly is entitled to one—and only one—vote on a question, the rules may not be suspended so as to authorize cumulative voting (pp. 443–44).” (RONR 11th ed., pg. 263)

It’s also possible (depending on the rules the assembly uses) that the proxy could be given to a nonmember, which also violates an FPPL.

Edited by Josh Martin
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18 hours ago, Guest Student said:

The alternative is to, at the annual meeting, schedule an adjourned meeting and postpone the election until then (the adjourned meeting is a continuation of the current meeting).

Actually, an adjourned meeting is a separate meeting, but is a continuation of the current session.

Edited by Richard Brown
Typographical correction
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