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Rescinding a Second


Guest Grits427
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I am a part of a student government in New York and something different came up in our meeting this week. One of our voting members asked if they could rescind their second on a main motion. I was wondering if this was possible? In the moment, we decided that if there was someone else who would be willing to give their second, we would record that in the minutes instead. I would also like to know for the future if what we did was right?

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It was incorrect, on a few levels (although the final outcome is fine).  First (or last, depending on how you look at it) the names of seconders should not be recorded in the minutes.  Second, once debate has begun on a motion, it is before the assembly, and the presence or absence of a second is immaterial.  Thus, presuming this motion was being debated at the time, none of it matters and you shouldn't have indulged the discussion.  Third, a second is simply agreeing that the motion should be placed before the assembly, and once it has been placed before the assembly, that can't be "undone."  If no one else had been willing to second (which is silly, since presumably people were debating it, and hence thought it was worth debating), nothing would have changed anyway.   

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On ‎4‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 5:05 PM, Joshua Katz said:

It was incorrect, on a few levels (although the final outcome is fine).  First (or last, depending on how you look at it) the names of seconders should not be recorded in the minutes.

Perhaps this organization has always recorded the names of the mover and seconder in the minutes. In that case after the debate exposes certain features or consequences of the main motion the seconder may wish to disassociate himself from the motion and is the reason for his request to withdraw his second, which is understandable.

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1 hour ago, Guest Zev said:

Perhaps this organization has always recorded the names of the mover and seconder in the minutes. In that case after the debate exposes certain features or consequences of the main motion the seconder may wish to disassociate himself from the motion and is the reason for his request to withdraw his second, which is understandable.

They are always free to start producing proper minutes.  Or to adopt a rule on the matter which also specifies how one can disown a motion in that situation.  But supposing this is the situation, my point would be that nothing happens to the motion if no one else steps up to second it.  At most, they wouldn't record a second for this motion (which, again, shouldn't be done anyway).  If the chair simply forgot to ask for a second, and the motion got debated anyway, presumably their minutes would lack a second.  I just don't think there's any reason to go looking for a new second for a motion already being debated.

Edited by Joshua Katz
Corrected typo
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37 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

I just don't think there's any reason to go looking for a new second for a motion already being debated. 

I agree. I don't think it is possible to "rescind" or "withdraw" a second, at least not once the chair has "stated the question" or debate has begun.  Even if it is possible, it won't change anything from a parliamentary standpoint.  

Edited by Richard Brown
Edited second sentence
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