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Voting without a motion


DavidWC
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Our Society of 100 members recently held a vote to amend our Constitution and By-laws. The proposed changes (crafted by our Board of Directors with no input from the members) were delivered to our Members 21+ days before the scheduled vote. The then current By-Laws required a copy of the proposed changes be delivered to Members 3 weeks prior to the vote.

The vote took place after a public program we held. Eleven Members were in attendance and stayed for the business meeting. Seven Members constitutes a quorum (A percentage is better but our former and new By-Laws say "7 members in good standing constitutes a quorum"). The only business handled was the vote to change our Constitution and By-Laws. Our president in essence said "Thank you for staying. We will now conduct a vote to update our Constitution and By-Laws. Please come forward and get a ballot from our Membership Chairman who will verify if you are a Member". Ballots were collected, counted, results announced, a "Thank you" was offered, and everyone left the building.

I was always under the assumption a Motion should be made before a vote can take place. That did not happen. Also, there was no Motion to discuss the proposed changes before the vote (at this or at prior meetings with our Members). Is a Motion required before a vote can take place even though a notice of the vote to make the changes was delivered to Members 21+ days beforehand ? If so, I'll question the vote at our Board of Director's meeting. I'm on the Board as Past President. When I was President it was (and still is) an uphill battle to get the Board to hold meetings properly AND according to our By-Laws.

Someone on the Board is bound to say "But a Motion has never been made before we hold our elections either" (Is a Motion to vote required in this instance too?).

David

 

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20 minutes ago, DavidWC said:

Our Society of 100 members recently held a vote to amend our Constitution and By-laws. The proposed changes (crafted by our Board of Directors with no input from the members) were delivered to our Members 21+ days before the scheduled vote. The then current By-Laws required a copy of the proposed changes be delivered to Members 3 weeks prior to the vote.

The vote took place after a public program we held. Eleven Members were in attendance and stayed for the business meeting. Seven Members constitutes a quorum (A percentage is better but our former and new By-Laws say "7 members in good standing constitutes a quorum"). The only business handled was the vote to change our Constitution and By-Laws. Our president in essence said "Thank you for staying. We will now conduct a vote to update our Constitution and By-Laws. Please come forward and get a ballot from our Membership Chairman who will verify if you are a Member". Ballots were collected, counted, results announced, a "Thank you" was offered, and everyone left the building.

I was always under the assumption a Motion should be made before a vote can take place. That did not happen. Also, there was no Motion to discuss the proposed changes before the vote (at this or at prior meetings with our Members). Is a Motion required before a vote can take place even though a notice of the vote to make the changes was delivered to Members 21+ days beforehand ? If so, I'll question the vote at our Board of Director's meeting. I'm on the Board as Past President. When I was President it was (and still is) an uphill battle to get the Board to hold meetings properly AND according to our By-Laws.

Someone on the Board is bound to say "But a Motion has never been made before we hold our elections either" (Is a Motion to vote required in this instance too?).

David

 

Well, it's too late to worry about it now. The deed has been done.

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The deed is, indeed, done, as Mr. Honemann points out.

However, just for your own edification, a motion to open debate on a pending motion is neither necessary nor proper. As soon as a motion is before the assembly (oddly, by the "thank you" statement, in this case), the motion is debatable. Had things been on track, the chair should have recognized the "reporting member" of the board to open the debate.

The motion to amend the Constitution and Bylaws is, itself, amendable. However, as all can see, there was little, if any, opportunity to rise for the purpose of making such a motion to Amend.

Since almost nothing went right, in this scenario, I can clearly see that your organization needs a good boot camp in parliamentary procedure. You might want to take a look at The Little Book.

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Thank you for the replies. I agree nothing went right.

The "Thank you for staying" (for the business meeting) was from our chair. The vote he mentioned was for voting on the proposed By-Law changes. Otherwise, to close the debate I think he would have asked "Are you ready for the vote to change our By-Laws"?

I bought them a copy of "Robert's Rules of Order in Brief" (same book in the link above) back when I was Chairman. The book is now probably buried in a drawer of the Chairman's desk. Our recent meeting was held elsewhere. After I resigned as Chairman four years ago I'll bet the book has never been opened.

David

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