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Guest J Green

Can a voting member make a motion and then abstain from voting?

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Guest J Green

At a recent meeting board meeting, one of our voting members made a motion to approve an item, someone seconded, and when we called for votes, he abstained from voting yes or no.

When we asked him why he made the motion, he said that there was no rule that prohibit a member to make a motion and then not vote. This person didn't agree with the item brought for approval but when the Chair asked for a motion, since no one offered a motion, he made the motion in order to move forward.

Is this correct?

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Yes, that's fine.

"RIGHT OF ABSTENTION. Although it is the duty of every member who has an opinion on a question to express it by his vote, he can abstain, since he cannot be compelled to vote. "  RONR (11th ed.), p. 407

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In fact, this member could even have voted against the motion that they moved. This is explicitly allowed in RONR 11th ed., p.393, lines 19-26.

The only prohibition is that they cannot speak against the motion. Someone who seconds a motion does not even have that restriction on them.

The explanation the member gave is an excellent example of when this rule is useful.

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I agree with the above. I'm curious, though, why the chair was asking for a motion. Generally debate begins on a topic after a motion is made and seconded and the chair states the question.

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2 hours ago, Joshua Katz said:

I agree with the above. I'm curious, though, why the chair was asking for a motion. Generally debate begins on a topic after a motion is made and seconded and the chair states the question.

It could be that this is some sort of governmental entity that was required to deal with an issue that was the subject of the motions. But if not, then I also wonder why it was handled in the way that it was. (I overlooked that nuance when I initially responded.) 

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Guest J Green

Staff brought an item for board approval and the Chair asked for a motion to approve this item.

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On 7/28/2020 at 1:15 PM, Guest J Green said:

Staff brought an item for board approval and the Chair asked for a motion to approve this item.


Although perhaps  not in precise conformity with RONR, in my experience this is not that unusual.

 

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