Jump to content
The Official RONR Q & A Forums

Voting Members


Guest pcruickshank6@hotmail.com

Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, Rob Elsman said:

The general rule is that only voting members may make or second motions. . . .

I'm not aware of any such rule.  Can you provide a citation?

In fact, it is my understanding that the more common position is that all members have all rights of membership except for those rights which have been specifically removed. I do agree that the bylaws should be specific as to what rights such "non-voting members" do retain.  Ultimately this is probably a matter of bylaws interpretation, something only the members of the organization can do.

I will add, for whatever it is worth, that an assembly may grant non-members the right to participate in debate and, presumably, the right to make motions, but cannot grant non-members the right to vote.

My position is that these "non-voting members", absent any clarification or restriction in the bylaws, do have the right to make motions (and to participate in debate).

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

I'm not aware of any such rule.  Can you provide a citation?

In fact, it is my understanding that the more common position is that all members have all rights of membership except for those rights which have been specifically removed. I do agree that the bylaws should be specific as to what rights such "non-voting members" do retain.  Ultimately this is probably a matter of bylaws interpretation, something only the members of the organization can do.

I will add, for whatever it is worth, that an assembly may grant non-members the right to participate in debate and, presumably, the right to make motions, but cannot grant non-members the right to vote.

My position is that these "non-voting members", absent any clarification or restriction in the bylaws, do have the right to make motions (and to participate in debate).

Since RONR only defines one kind of member, in the parliamentary sense, 1:4, and he did say bylaw interpretation may be needed, just like you did.  Mr. Katz was the first to note that this mythical creature "non-voting member" does not exist in RONR.

Edited by George Mervosh
Link to post
Share on other sites

RONR assumes that members have all the rights of members. "A member of an assembly, in the parliamentary sense, as mentioned above, is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is, as explained in 3 and 4, the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote." RONR (12th ed.) 1:4 (emphasis in original)

RONR has no general rule on rights of members who do not have all of those rights, saying only, "Some organized societies define additional classes of 'membership' that do not entail all of these rights." Ibid.
So you will need to consult your bylaws, or interpret them, to clarify which subset of those rights these non-voting members have.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, Richard Brown said:

In fact, it is my understanding that the more common position is that all members have all rights of membership except for those rights which have been specifically removed.

With respect to multiple classes of membership, I disagree that this is the correct interpretation of RONR (12th ed.) 56:19.  Principle of Interpretation 5, RONR (12th ed.) 56:68, guides us to the opposite interpretation.

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Rob Elsman said:

With respect to multiple classes of membership, I disagree that this is the correct interpretation of RONR (12th ed.) 56:19.  Principle of Interpretation 5, RONR (12th ed.) 56:68, guides us to the opposite interpretation.

I interpret  Principles of Interpretation 5 and 6 in precisely the opposite way that you do.  If the bylaws remove only the right to vote, then all other rights remain.

I suggest that those who are following this discussion with interest do a simple search of the forum for some of the many times we have had this discussion.  The question comes up regularly.  The result is almost always that most of us are in agreement that non-voting members (or all members) retain all of the rights of membership  except for those rights that have been specifically excluded.

I made one quick search using the search terms  "non voting member make motion" and selected the option to require ALL search terms (instead of only one of the  search terms) and got, as I recall 33 previous threads on the subject.  In skimming just the first few, it was clear that the majority opinion among the members posting in those threads (at least one of which is very recent) is that when the bylalws provide for "non-voting members" that said members retain all other rights of membership not specifically excepted unless the bylaws provide otherwise.  We do almost all seem to agree that the bylaws should be specific as to what rights remain when one right is removed (as does RONR), but it is a fact of life that that rarely happens.  Ultimately, it is up to the assembly itself to decide what rights these "non-voting members" have.  My opinion, unless the bylaws indicate otherwise, is that they retain ALL rights of membership except for those rights specifically excepted.

Note for new members searching the forum:  The default search mode is that the system searches for posts containing ANY of the search terms you enter.  That usually (for me, at least) leads to finding WAY too many hits, most of which are not at all on point.  Changing the default setting to search instead only for posts containing ALL of your search terms reduces drastically the number  of hits and leads to hits that are much more likely to be right on point

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will step back a little bit, and say this will be a bylaw interpretation.

If I were a member, I would support the interpretation that Rule #6 in the section on bylaw interpretation permits the non-voting member to retain all the rights of membership, except the right to vote.  If I were chairing the meeting, I would rule that way, subject to appeal.  It would be preferable if the bylaws said that in so many words.

I would note, however, that the rules could be suspended to permit nonmembers to speak in debate and make motions.  I would also note that, even without a suspension of the rules, that, once debate begins on motion made by a nonmember, in would be too late to raise a point of order.  In other words, the motion could be legitimately adopted, even if moved by someone not a member.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2020 at 2:55 PM, Rob Elsman said:

With respect to multiple classes of membership, I disagree that this is the correct interpretation of RONR (12th ed.) 56:19.  Principle of Interpretation 5, RONR (12th ed.) 56:68, guides us to the opposite interpretation.

Principle of Interpretation 5 concerns granting of privileges, not limiting rights, so it does not apply.  Principle 6 does apply, and says that a specific limitation "permits things of the same class that are not mentioned in the prohibition or limitation and that are not evidently improper."

Limiting the rights of a "member" by removing one of those rights (in this case voting) does not remove any of the other rights of membership that are not mentioned, viz. attending meetings, making motions, and speaking in debate.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...