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Guest brpounds

Motion to Suspend Rules violating by-laws

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Guest brpounds

At a recent convention, a motion was made to suspend the rules to elect based on plurality instead of the majority.  This was contrary to our organization's by-laws; however, the chair did not rule the motion out of order (we were pressed for time).  

After that motion, we elected 4 persons to their respective offices.  After an audit, we found that only 1 was elected via the plurality.  What are the penalties for violation of by-laws after the fact, if none are included in the organizations constitution or by-laws?

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The other 3 were elected by majority vote?  If so, then the one electied by plurality vote is null and void (RONR p. 251[a] and pp. 404-405) and will need to be done correctly.

Edited by Chris Harrison

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Guest Who's Coming to Dinner

I believe I have read in this forum that a vote requirement is a rule of order, and as such, may be suspended even if contained in the bylaws.

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

I believe I have read in this forum that a vote requirement is a rule of order, and as such, may be suspended even if contained in the bylaws.

Oops; no. Prohibited on Page 405 in the case of officer elections.

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

Oops; no. Prohibited on Page 405 in the case of officer elections.

They might not be officers.  That was my next question. 

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11 hours ago, Guest brpounds said:

Not officers, rather next level committee members..

RONR says the bylaws should have an article specifying which officers the organization requires.  Does yours?  And if so are these "next level committee members" included in it?

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If, at this convention, the motion that was made to suspend the rules in order to permit election by plurality vote was adopted, it seems to me that anyone declared elected, even if elected only by a plurality vote, must be understood to have been duly elected.

As a matter of fact, I think that anyone declared elected at the convention only by a plurality vote must be understood to have been duly elected even if no motion had been adopted to suspend the rules. In other words, I think that rules relating to the vote required to elect or to adopt a motion are rules of order, and that the rule that a majority vote is required to elect or to adopt a motion is not a fundamental principle of parliamentary law.

Edited by Daniel H. Honemann
Added the last paragraph just to throw more fuel on the fire.

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2 hours ago, Daniel H. Honemann said:

If, at this convention, the motion that was made to suspend the rules in order to permit election by plurality vote was adopted, it seems to me that anyone declared elected, even if elected only by a plurality vote, must be understood to have been duly elected.

As a matter of fact, I think that anyone declared elected at the convention only by a plurality vote must be understood to have been duly elected even if no motion had been adopted to suspend the rules. In other words, I think that rules relating to the vote required to elect or to adopt a motion are rules of order, and that the rule that a majority vote is required to elect or to adopt a motion is not a fundamental principle of parliamentary law.

I agree that, in itself, there is no fundamental principle of parliamentary that a majority  should elect.

However, I think that there may be an, admittedly unstated, fundamental principle of parliamentary law that by adopting a parliamentary authority the assembly is prohibited from doing certain things unless it authorizes those things in the bylaws.  Those things are then not a rule in the nature of a rule order, because those things could not be adopted as a rule of order.

In the case of committee members, I know of no rule in RONR that, in order to elect by a plurality, authorization in the bylaws is needed.  

Edited by J. J.
adding FPPL

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37 minutes ago, J. J. said:

In the case of committee members, I know of no rule in RONR that, in order to elect by a plurality, authorization in the bylaws is needed.  

Neither do I.  However, since the OP said it's a  "next level" committee member I have to question whether they're using the term "committee" in the same way RONR does on page 489 ll. 20-25.

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

Oops; no. Prohibited on Page 405 in the case of officer elections.

What is said on page 405 (ll. 4-6, specifically) speaks of the location of a rule. It does not speak to any prohibition against suspending a rule. 

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8 minutes ago, Tim Wynn said:

What is said on page 405 (ll. 4-6, specifically) speaks of the location of a rule. It does not speak to any prohibition against suspending a rule. 

But it does speak about the kind of a rule it cannot be. 

There are several rules in RONR that are procedural in nature, but cannot be enacted by a special rule.   A few of them do not violate any stated  fundamental principle of parliamentary law, nor of the rights of absentees nor a basic right of an individual member.

I can think of at least one fundamental principle of parliamentary law that could be overridden by a special rule of order, the "one question at a time" rule.  I would usually not recommend it, but it is possible. 

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28 minutes ago, Tim Wynn said:

What is said on page 405 (ll. 4-6, specifically) speaks of the location of a rule. It does not speak to any prohibition against suspending a rule. 

This is exactly my understanding of it as well.  

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Guest brpounds

Better to say that our district convention elects members to the larger group (State Central Committee).  The by-laws of the larger organization state that committee members are to be elected by a simple majority.  Our convention rules state that the convention rules should conform to the laws of the state, the by-laws of the district, the by-laws of the state organization, and RONR, 11th.

Thanks for all the help.  I am not sure how this will resolve itself.

 

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Guest brpounds

The point is that they did.  A motion to suspend the rules was made and seconded.  The chair did not rule it out of order, no statement from the rules chair was offered (allowed), and neither of the two parliamentarians were allowed to be involved.  The vote was taken and the motion passed.  Subsequently, the votes happened, and later the convention ratified the results, and the then the convention was adjourned.

My reading, as well, is "that you can't do that," but I see nothing in RONR that says, "if you screw up, this is what should happen."  I feel like everything tells me I am not supposed to speed, but there is no penalty if I come to a meeting and say, "I would have been late, but I broke the speed limit, ' and they reply, "you can't do that."

Again, thanks for you consideration.

 

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On 6/27/2018 at 3:33 PM, Guest brpounds said:

What are the penalties for violation of by-laws after the fact, if none are included in the organizations constitution or by-laws?

This question may have gone unanswered. Let me offer an answer now: There is no penalty except what the assembly decides through disciplinary measures. Sometimes, in the case of a continuing breach, the action taken is null and void and a point of order can be made at any time. Sometimes, as in cases where a point of order must be timely, it's too late to correct a mistake, and in those cases, the assembly benefits from the fact that what's in the past doesn't haunt future meetings. The best thing to do is be prepared to get it right the next time. 

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