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Guest Rev. L Wilson

Voting Between 3 Options

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Guest Rev. L Wilson

My church is faced with a budget decision between 3 options. We have no clear idea what the will of the congregation is/will be. How do we fairly and appropriately structure a vote between choice A, B or C?

Thanks very much!!

Rev. LW

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3 minutes ago, Guest Rev. L Wilson said:

My church is faced with a budget decision between 3 options. We have no clear idea what the will of the congregation is/will be. How do we fairly and appropriately structure a vote between choice A, B or C?

A member should make a motion to adopt one of the proposed budgets. Amendments to that motion are then in order. You are not structuring a vote between choices A, B, or C. You are structuring a process for the assembly to decide on a budget. The assembly might end up choosing to adopt one of these budgets as is, to adopt one of these budgets with slight modifications, to adopt a completely different budget, or even (unless your rules require a budget) to adopt no budget at all.

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Zev

Would a motion with a blank work in this case? (Options A, B, and C would be on separate sheets handed out.)

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Sure, but the best bet would be to use the Borda Count - but you'll have to adopt special rules of order first.  It will be worth it.

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3 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Would a motion with a blank work in this case? (Options A, B, and C would be on separate sheets handed out.)

It it's just a matter of filling a blank with a number, it would, work, but the assembly could also add options D, E, F, .... Z.

If these options are alternate budgets with multiple line items each, there's an arbitrarily large number of ways the assembly might want to amend it, so its not a matter of just filling a blank.

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31 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Why overcomplicate things? Move A. Move B as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide. Move C as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide.

That's uncomplicated? I don't know more than a dozen people (and that may be a stretch) that can properly preside over a substitute.  :) 

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3 hours ago, Guest Zev said:

Would a motion with a blank work in this case? (Options A, B, and C would be on separate sheets handed out.)

No, that would not be appropriate in this instance. Filling blanks is used when it is desired to consider a particular specification in a motion, such as a name, place, or amount of money. The procedure of filling blanks could be used if there is a dispute over the amount for a particular line item in the proposed budget, but voting on three different budgets by the procedure of filling blanks is not in order.

3 hours ago, jstackpo said:

Sure, but the best bet would be to use the Borda Count - but you'll have to adopt special rules of order first.  It will be worth it.

I disagree that the procedure of filling blanks could be used in this instance, regardless of the matter of voting (although I suppose that a special rule could allow it).

3 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Why overcomplicate things? Move A. Move B as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide. Move C as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide.

The procedure described is problematic. If the motion to substitute Budget B is adopted, further amendments are not in order except by adding nonmodifying matter. As a result, if it was desired in this instance to then consider Budget C as a substitute, it would be necessary to Reconsider the vote on the motion to substitute Budget B.

Additionally, I see no reason to suggest or guess at how the process will play out. The process will begin by a member offering a motion to adopt a budget (presumably, to adopt one of the three budgets which have been proposed). Amendments to that motion are then in order. How exactly the process plays out from there is up to the assembly.

Edited by Josh Martin

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10 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

The procedure described is problematic. If the motion to substitute Budget B is adopted, further amendments are not in order except by adding nonmodifying matter. As a result, if it was desired in this instance to then consider Budget C as a substitute, it would be necessary to Reconsider the vote on the motion to substitute Budget B.

 

If the motion to substitute B is adopted, I realize B cannot be further perfected (but why would it need to be?), and I realize that a substitute cannot be a secondary amendment, but are you saying that following a substitution, another motion to substitute, as a new primary amendment, is not permissible?  If so, I'm not arguing, but what is the source?  

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3 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

If the motion to substitute B is adopted, I realize B cannot be further perfected (but why would it need to be?), and I realize that a substitute cannot be a secondary amendment, but are you saying that following a substitution, another motion to substitute, as a new primary amendment, is not permissible?  If so, I'm not arguing, but what is the source?  

Yes, that is correct (if the substitute is adopted).

“If the motion to substitute has been adopted, the resolution now pending is in the position of a paragraph that has been inserted, and it can no longer be amended except by adding nonmodifying matter.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 161)

As a result, if a motion to adopt Budget A and a motion to amend by substituting Budget B are made, a member who wishes to consider Budget C should speak in debate and urge members to defeat the motion to substitute, and that he will offer a motion to substitute Budget C if this occurs.

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6 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

As a result, if a motion to adopt Budget A and a motion to amend by substituting Budget B are made, a member who wishes to consider Budget C should speak in debate and urge members to defeat the motion to substitute, and that he will offer a motion to substitute Budget C if this occurs.

Hold on here:  it would be perfectly proper to move to substitute C for B  when B is pending as a primary amendment.  See p. 154, footnote.   Doing so will, however, block any amendments to C while it is pending.   And limit them if C is adopted as a replacement for B.

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38 minutes ago, Josh Martin said:

 “If the motion to substitute has been adopted, the resolution now pending is in the position of a paragraph that has been inserted, and it can no longer be amended except by adding nonmodifying matter.” (RONR, 11th ed., pg. 161)

 

Well, wait a second.  Suppose a motion is pending, and is amended by inserting a paragraph. Are you also saying it is now out of order to move a substitute for the pending motion?

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57 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Well, wait a second.  Suppose a motion is pending, and is amended by inserting a paragraph. Are you also saying it is now out of order to move a substitute for the pending motion?

No, he didn't say that. But what does that have to do with the budget for tea in China? :)

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3 minutes ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

No, he didn't say that. But what does that have to do with the budget for tea in China? :)

It seems to me that going from the cited text to the conclusion is an enthymeme, with what I stated as the unstated premise.

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Guest Zev

How about a special rule of order for this particular motion? All budgets will be considered in order, amendments made to each one. At the end of all budgets they vote in order and the first one that receives a majority vote is the adopted budget. Or, send all budgets to a special committee and let them recommend the one they like.

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5 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

Move A. Move B as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide. Move C as a substitute. Perfect both. Decide.

2 hours ago, Josh Martin said:

The procedure described is problematic. If the motion to substitute Budget B is adopted, further amendments are not in order except by adding nonmodifying matter.

1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

Suppose a motion is pending, and is amended by inserting a paragraph. Are you also saying it is now out of order to move a substitute for the pending motion?

Your suggestion was that Budget Resolution B be moved as a substitute for Budget Resolution A. If this motion is adopted, the pending motion will consist entirely of the substitute; there is no inserted paragraph within a larger resolution.

I think you are being confused by the statement "the resolution now pending is in the position of a paragraph that has been inserted." That text on page 161, which explains the procedure of the example, is alluding to the actual rule on page 155 which states: "After a paragraph, section, or version of a resolution has been substituted for another, the substituted paragraph or resolution cannot be amended except by adding something that does not modify the paragraph's existing content—as is true of any paragraph that has been inserted." (RONR, p. 155, ll. 22-26)

This should be read as follows: "After a paragraph, section, or version of a resolution has been substituted for another, the substituted paragraph [or section] or resolution cannot be amended except by adding something that does not modify the paragraph's [its] existing content—as is true of any paragraph [or set of paragraphs or sections] that has been inserted."

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23 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

How about a special rule of order for this particular motion? All budgets will be considered in order, amendments made to each one. At the end of all budgets they vote in order and the first one that receives a majority vote is the adopted budget.

Yes, the society could adopt such a rule if it wishes.

24 minutes ago, Guest Zev said:

Or, send all budgets to a special committee and let them recommend the one they like.

This would also be in order.

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Guest Zev

I do not know how this matter became a choice between A, B, and C, but if it would be in order, I would just ignore B and C, present budget A and let the friends of budgets B and C propose the amendments they feel necessary to make A look more like B or C, or whatever.  Having a Finance Committee and letting them propose a single unified budget might simplify things.

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner
1 hour ago, Guest Zev said:

I do not know how this matter became a choice between A, B, and C

Probably because some board thought they could limit the congregation's choices as though it were an election.

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I think there is a way to use filling blanks in this instance.  

Member:  I move the adoption of daft budget <blank> for the next fiscal year.   (Second.)

Chair facilitates filling the blank with A, B, or C, as the assembly prefers.  The budget chosen to fill the blank will presumably be the one that comes closest to the general consensus of the goals of the assembly.

The chair states the question with the blank filled, and the other two choices are discarded.  The question now pending is the adoption of the  chosen draft budget, which is then debatable and amendable by the normal rules on any main motion.

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5 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

Chair facilitates filling the blank with A, B, or C, as the assembly prefers.  The budget chosen to fill the blank will presumably be the one that comes closest to the general consensus of the goals of the assembly.

Problem there is that the assembly could very well not muster a majority vote for any of the A vs. B vs. C choices.

Then, I guess, it is back to the drawing board, or the Budget &  Finance Committee.

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6 hours ago, Gary Novosielski said:

I think there is a way to use filling blanks in this instance.  

Member:  I move the adoption of daft budget <blank> for the next fiscal year.   (Second.)

Chair facilitates filling the blank with A, B, or C, as the assembly prefers.  The budget chosen to fill the blank will presumably be the one that comes closest to the general consensus of the goals of the assembly.

The chair states the question with the blank filled, and the other two choices are discarded.  The question now pending is the adoption of the  chosen draft budget, which is then debatable and amendable by the normal rules on any main motion.

I still disagree that filling blanks is the appropriate tool to use for this purpose.

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1 hour ago, Josh Martin said:

I still disagree that filling blanks is the appropriate tool to use for this purpose.

I think I agree with your position.  One question that I have is if the rules could be suspended to permit using filling blanks?

Why couldn't someone move one of the budgets and the assembly just use the regular amendment process?

One other point, a few have talked about the possibility of no plan getting a majority under filling blanks.  I think that could be the case with any option. 

 

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2 minutes ago, J. J. said:

Why couldn't someone move one of the budgets and the assembly just use the regular amendment process?

I was wondering the same thing myself.  That would be far less complicated.

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