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Calculation of two thirds vote

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I am new to RONR and trying to learn all the nuances, but in calculating a two third vote- if you have a vote of 22 out of 34, two thirds amounts to 22.66. Will we need 23 votes to pass or 22 in this instance? 

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16 minutes ago, Guest Guest said:

I am new to RONR and trying to learn all the nuances, but in calculating a two third vote- if you have a vote of 22 out of 34, two thirds amounts to 22.66. Will we need 23 votes to pass or 22 in this instance? 

23

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17 minutes ago, Guest Guest said:

I am new to RONR and trying to learn all the nuances, but in calculating a two third vote- if you have a vote of 22 out of 34, two thirds amounts to 22.66. Will we need 23 votes to pass or 22 in this instance? 

Mr. Honemann, as usual, has very succinctly given you the correct answer.

A quick way to determine if you have met a two-thirds vote is to double the negative vote and compare the result to the affirmative vote. If the affirmative vote is at least twice as much as the negative vote, you have reached the two-thirds threshold. 

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Mr. Merritt accidentally stumbled in stating his quick tip.  If you double the negative vote and result is greater than or equal to the affirmative vote, the affirmative side has it.

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4 hours ago, Rob Elsman said:

Mr. Merritt accidentally stumbled in stating his quick tip.  If you double the negative vote and result is greater than or equal to the affirmative vote, the affirmative side has it.

Mr. Elsman seems to have stumbled while trying to correct @Weldon Merritt, whose post is correct, by the way.

If the affirmative vote is at least double the negative vote, then it is a 2/3 vote. As an equation:  Y >= 2 x N

In the OP's example, 22 Y and 12 N for a total of 34 votes. 22 is not at least 2x12 so it is not 2/3.

If the vote is 23 Y and 11 N, on the other hand, then 2/3 is obtained because 23 > 2 x 11.

And, to avoid another stumbling block, the threshold is at least 2/3, So if there were 36 votes and the breakdown was 24Y and 12N, then the 2/3 threshold is achieved, because 24 = 2 x 12. Sometimes people think it needs to be more than 2/3, confusing it with the definition of majority vote which is more than half.

Edited by Atul Kapur
Added note in bold italic

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On 7/10/2020 at 10:46 AM, Guest Guest said:

I am new to RONR and trying to learn all the nuances, but in calculating a two third vote- if you have a vote of 22 out of 34, two thirds amounts to 22.66. Will we need 23 votes to pass or 22 in this instance? 

 

On 7/10/2020 at 11:04 AM, Daniel H. Honemann said:

 

23

We all seem to be assuming that "out of 34" refers to 34 votes cast. If, in on the other hand, 34 is simply the number of members eligible to vote, then we don't know how many are required for a two-thirds vote, because that depends solely on the number of votes cast. 

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4 hours ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

 

We all seem to be assuming that "out of 34" refers to 34 votes cast. If, in the other hand, 34 is simply the number of members eligible to vote, then we don't know how many are required for a two-thirds vote, because that depends solely on the number of votes cast. 

True, but it seems a reasonable assumption based on the phrasing of the question. 

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A distinction people often mix up:

If the voting threshold is a majority, then the fraction of votes that are affirmative must be strictly greater than half. So, if there are 12 votes, a majority would be greater than 12/2 = 6—i.e., 7 or more. If exactly half are in the affirmative, it's a tie, and ties fail.

On the other hand, if the threshold is some fraction, that many votes or more must be affirmative. With 12 votes and a two-thirds requirement, the motion passes if 12 × 2/3 = 8 or more votes are in the affirmative. You don't need greater than 8, i.e., 9 or more—you just need 8. Other fractions—three-fourths, three-fifths, etc.—defined in your bylaws work similarly.

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@Caryn Ann Harlos you might find this thread of interest in view of our conversation this weekend about determining whether a 2/3 vote has been achieved.  No need to do complicated math. If there are twice as many yes votes as no votes, it is a 2/3 vote.

As discussed in the thread, the  situation does become a bit more complicated if the requirement is a vote of 2/3 of the members present or 2/3 of the entire membership. In those situations, you have to do math a bit more complicated than simply determining whether there were twice as many yes votes as no votes.

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RONR does not speak of a "two-thirds vote of the entire membership".  In all but the smallest assemblies, obtaining this kind of result seems impractical, unnecessary, and even, perhaps, unwise, because the organization may be prevented from taking important actions that would clearly be in its best interest.

 

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25 minutes ago, Rob Elsman said:

RONR does not speak of a "two-thirds vote of the entire membership".  In all but the smallest assemblies, obtaining this kind of result seems impractical, unnecessary, and even, perhaps, unwise, because the organization may be prevented from taking important actions that would clearly be in its best interest.

 

True, RONR does not. But it wouldn't surprise me if the bylaws of some groups do, regardless of how "impractical, unnecessary, and even, perhaps, unwise" it may be. 

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1 hour ago, Rob Elsman said:

RONR does not speak of a "two-thirds vote of the entire membership".  .  .   

 

It does not speak of “a 2/3 vote of the entire membership” because that is a improper phrasing, but it most definitely does speak of “a vote of 2/3 of the entire membership”. See for example page 403. 

That is a small but very critical difference in phrasing that seems to escape most people and that I myself did not understand at one time.

The phrase “majority vote” (or  “a majority vote of”) and the phrase “the vote of a majority of” mean two different things. It’s the same thing with “a 2/3 vote”  and “a vote of 2/3 of [the board, the membership or whatever]. 

RONR does not recommend the requirement of the vote of 2/3 of the entire membership, but it most definitely mentions it and many organizations do in fact require it.
 


 

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9 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

That is a small but very critical difference in phrasing that seems to escape most people and that I myself did not understand at one time.

Hang on, what's the distinction? It escapes me as well.

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56 minutes ago, Alex Meed said:

Hang on, what's the distinction? It escapes me as well.

 

10 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

It does not speak of “a 2/3 vote of the entire membership” because that is a improper phrasing, but it most definitely does speak of “a vote of 2/3 of the entire membership”. See for example page 403. 

 

A vote of 2/3 of the entire membership has a clear meaning. It means, take the entire membership size, take 2/3 of that, you need that many people voting yes. No inferential step is needed. On the other hand, a 2/3 vote of the entire membership is ambiguous and unclear. Is it the same as above? Or is it simply a 2/3 vote, in a vote in which the entire membership may vote? The words strongly suggest the latter, but the fact that you'd write the extra words suggests the former.

More generally:

10 hours ago, Richard Brown said:

The phrase “majority vote” (or  “a majority vote of”) and the phrase “the vote of a majority of” mean two different things. It’s the same thing with “a 2/3 vote”  and “a vote of 2/3 of [the board, the membership or whatever]. 

 

A majority vote means more than half of the votes cast. The vote of a majority of some assembly means that more than half of some group must vote in favor. An abstention, in the latter case, has the same effect as voting no. If it's of the entire membership, then absentees also, effectively, have the same effect as nays. In the first case, one person could vote in favor, and the rest abstain, and the motion passes. That is not the case if the threshold is the latter.

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14 hours ago, Alex Meed said:

Hang on, what's the distinction? It escapes me as well.

Concurring with Mr. Katz, I would add that the situation is even more ambiguous when a rule simply says "a 2/3 vote of the membership" (and leaves out the word "entire"). In such cases, it's not clear whether this actually means 2/3 of the membership, or if it means an ordinary 2/3 vote and it is simply clarifying that the membership (as opposed to, for example, the board) is the body that is voting. I see this wording a lot and usually find that societies mean the latter. For clarity, I usually suggest they change the order of the words - "The membership, by a 2/3 vote, ..."

Edited by Josh Martin

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Guest Brett

So forgive my absolute confusion at this point. Where RONR states that a 2/3 majority vote is necessary, is this 2/3 of the actual votes cast, 2/3 of the members present at an actual meeting where a vote is taken, or 2/3 of the entire membership?

Our organization has a situation where there was a motion passed at Monday nights meeting. There was no advance notification of intent to vote to overturn the vote, but we have heard that there are some that are upset with the decision and plan on either attending or next scheduled general meeting or petitioning the president for a special meeting which odds allowed in our bylaws. My understanding is that in this case a 2/3 majority vote is necessary to overturn the action of the previous motion. So again, is this 2/3 of the actual votes, 2/3 of the members present or 2/3 of the actual number of members in the organization?

 Thanks in advance. 

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The default in RONR is that a "majority vote" is a majority of those present and voting.

It's the same for a 2/3 vote: two-thirds of those present and voting. ( the term "2/3 majority vote" is incorrect).

If you are going to use a different denominator, then your rules should specify that. For example "a vote of the majority of the entire membership" or "a vote of 2/3 of those present."

Avoid using language such as "a majority vote of those present" because it is unclear what is meant. In most cases, it is simplest and clearest to just say a majority vote or a two-thirds vote and rely on the standard definition in RONR.

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Guest Brett: First, please don’t use the term “2/3 majority vote”. The term does not exist in RONR. A majority vote is one thing and a 2/3 vote is something else. It is not 2/3 majority, but simply 2/3.

The term majority vote, when not qualified in any way, means a majority of those members present and voting, ignoring blanks and abstentions. It  means a majority of the votes actually cast.

Similarly, a 2/3 vote means 2/3 of those members present and voting, excluding blanks and abstentions  it is 2/3 of the votes actually cast.

Both terms refer to members present and voting, not to members present or to the entire membership unless expressly qualified to say so.

When it is intended that the vote  threshold apply to, for example, the members present, we change the wording slightly as follows: “the vote of a majority of” the members present (Or “the vote of 2/3 of” the members present). We change the wording from “majority vote“ (which has a defined meaning) to “”the vote of a majority of” when we are applying it to the members present  (or to the entire membership).

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last sentence to the second and third paragraphs

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1 hour ago, Guest Brett said:

Our organization has a situation where there was a motion passed at Monday nights meeting. There was no advance notification of intent to vote to overturn the vote, but we have heard that there are some that are upset with the decision and plan on either attending or next scheduled general meeting or petitioning the president for a special meeting which odds allowed in our bylaws. My understanding is that in this case a 2/3 majority vote is necessary to overturn the action of the previous motion. So again, is this 2/3 of the actual votes, 2/3 of the members present or 2/3 of the actual number of members in the organization?

The vote requirement in RONR to rescind a previously adopted motion is as follows:

“except when applied to a constitution, bylaws, or special rules of order, require (a) a two-thirds vote, (b) a majority vote when notice of intent to make the motion, stating the complete substance of the proposed change, has been given at the previous meeting within a quarterly time interval or in the call of the present meeting, or (c) a vote of a majority of the entire membership—any one of which will suffice"

The "two-thirds vote" of part (a) is two-thirds of the votes cast. The "majority vote when notice …" of part (b) is a majority (more than half) of the votes cast. The "vote of a majority of the entire membership" of part (c) is a majority (more than half) of the number of members in the organization (i.e., the number of members eligible to vote at meetings of the assembly).

So, if a special meeting is held for the purpose of rescinding the motion, the call of the meeting must state that purpose, and therefore only a majority vote (i.e., more than half the votes cast) will be required. If the motion to Rescind is made at a regular meeting with no previous notice of the motion having been given, then it will be adopted if it attains a two-thirds vote *or* if it attains a vote of a majority of the entire membership.

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Guest Brett:  Perhaps this copy and paste from pages 402-404 of the 11th edition of RONR regarding vote thresholds will help you to understand what Dr. Kapur and i are trying to say:

Modifications of Usual Bases for Decision:


By modifying the concepts of a majority vote and a two-thirds vote, other bases for determining a voting result can be defined and are sometimes prescribed by rule. Two elements enter into the definition of such bases for decision: (1) the proportion that must concur—as a majority, two thirds, three fourths, etc.; and (2) the set of members to which the proportion applies—which (a) when not stated, is always the number of members present and voting, but (b) can be specified by rule as the number of members present, the total membership, or some other grouping.
Assume, for example, that at a meeting of a society with a total membership of 150 and a quorum of 10, there are 30 members present, of whom 25 participate in a given counted vote (taken by rising, by show of hands, by roll call, or by ballot). Then, with respect to that vote: [page 403]
A majority is       13
A majority of the members present is        16
A majority of the entire membership is        76
A two-thirds vote is                    17
A vote of two thirds of the members present is    20
A vote of two thirds of the entire membership is    100
Regarding these bases for determining a voting result, the following points should be noted:
    •    Voting requirements based on the number of members present—a majority of those present, two thirds of those present, etc.—while possible, are generally undesirable. Since an abstention in such cases has the same effect as a negative vote, these bases deny members the right to maintain a neutral position by abstaining. For the same reason, members present who fail to vote through indifference rather than through deliberate neutrality may affect the result negatively. When such a vote is required, however, the chair must count those present immediately after the affirmative vote is taken, before any change can take place in attendance. (See p. 45, ll. 4–18.)
    •     A majority of the entire membership* is a majority of the total number of those who are members of the voting body at the time of the vote. (Thus, in a society that has [page 404] both a general membership and an executive board, a "majority of the entire membership" at a board meeting refers to a majority of the membership of the board, not of the society.) In a convention of delegates a majority of the entire membership means a majority of the total number of convention members entitled to vote as set forth in the official roll of voting members of the convention (pp. 7, 617). The vote of a majority of the entire membership is frequently an alternative to a requirement of previous notice, and is required in order to rescind and expunge from the minutes (see p. 310). Otherwise, prescribing such a requirement is generally unsatisfactory in an assembly of an ordinary society, since it is likely to be impossible to get a majority of the entire membership even to attend a given meeting, although in certain instances it may be appropriate in conventions or in per
manent boards where the members are obligated to attend the meetings.
Whenever it is desired that the basis for decision be other than a majority vote or (where the normal rules of parliamentary law require it) a two-thirds vote or a vote of a majority of the entire membership, the desired basis should be precisely defined in the bylaws or in a special rule of order. Whatever voting basis is used, it is also possible to include a requirement of previous notice for specified types of action. Previous notice means that notice of intent to introduce the proposal must be given at the preceding meeting (in which case the notice can be oral), or in the call of the meeting at which it is brought up (for a discussion of previous notice, see pp. 121–24). 
(Emphasis in  the first full paragraph added by me)

The bottom  line is that when you intend that the vote threshold be anything other than a regular majority or two thirds vote (of the votes actually cast), you need to specify it precisely.

Edited to add:  Guest Brett, i see that as i was typing this Mr. Gerber posted a very good and succinct answer to your particular question regarding the vote threshold to rescind something previously adopted.   If that answered your question, and I imagine it did, you can ignore my post unless you just want more information regarding the need to be very precise when prescribing vote thresholds and what the various thresholds mean. A very minor variation in wording can make a huge difference in the vote threshold required.  

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph

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1 hour ago, Shmuel Gerber said:

The vote requirement in RONR to rescind a previously adopted motion is as follows:

“except when applied to a constitution, bylaws, or special rules of order, require (a) a two-thirds vote, (b) a majority vote when notice of intent to make the motion, stating the complete substance of the proposed change, has been given at the previous meeting within a quarterly time interval or in the call of the present meeting, or (c) a vote of a majority of the entire membership—any one of which will suffice"

The "two-thirds vote" of part (a) is two-thirds of the votes cast. The "majority vote when notice …" of part (b) is a majority (more than half) of the votes cast. The "vote of a majority of the entire membership" of part (c) is a majority (more than half) of the number of members in the organization (i.e., the number of members eligible to vote at meetings of the assembly).

So, if a special meeting is held for the purpose of rescinding the motion, the call of the meeting must state that purpose, and therefore only a majority vote (i.e., more than half the votes cast) will be required. If the motion to Rescind is made at a regular meeting with no previous notice of the motion having been given, then it will be adopted if it attains a two-thirds vote *or* if it attains a vote of a majority of the entire membership.

So to clarify. If members petition the president for a special meeting to vote on rescinding the vote on Monday, than that would be considered having given notice, even though that intent was not made at the meeting on Monday when the initial vote had been taken?  My interpretation would be that if the notice is not made at the same meeting that the motion passed then it’s not considered having met the qualifications of prior notice to try and rescind the motion and vote, so the bottom line would be that if the new motion is made at either our next scheduled meeting or a specially called and scheduled meeting, then it will require a 2/3 majority to overrule the previous decision?  
am I right here???

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10 minutes ago, Brett said:

So to clarify. If members petition the president for a special meeting to vote on rescinding the vote on Monday, than that would be considered having given notice, even though that intent was not made at the meeting on Monday when the initial vote had been taken?

Yes.  The notice of a special meeting, which must include the purpose of the meeting and the business to be discussed, satisfies the requirement of giving notice. Notice is given in the notice of the special meeting.  Unless your customized rules provide otherwise, a regular majority vote will suffice to rescind the motion previously adopted since notice is being given.  Notice can always be given in the call of a meeting unless you have a customized rule to the contrary.

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3 hours ago, Brett said:

My interpretation would be that if the notice is not made at the same meeting that the motion passed then it’s not considered having met the qualifications of prior notice to try and rescind the motion and vote, so the bottom line would be that if the new motion is made at either our next scheduled meeting or a specially called and scheduled meeting, then it will require a 2/3 majority to overrule the previous decision?  
am I right here???

Your interpretation is incorrect because "A requirement of previous notice means that announcement that the motion will be introduced—indicating its exact content as described below—must be included in the call of the meeting at which the motion will be brought up, or, as a permissible alternative, if no more than a quarterly time interval will have elapsed since the preceding meeting, the announcement must be made at the preceding meeting."

Both of these alternative methods of giving notice are also mentioned in the quote I gave before, regarding the vote requirement for a motion to Rescind.

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