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Convention voting in person and virtual

Guest Sandra

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More than likely, yes, unless your bylaws specifically authorize electronic meetings and voting electronically or there is a state law or emergency  gubernatorial Proclamation or executive order authorizing electronic meetings and electronic voting due to the pandemic.

RONR is clear that without authorization in the bylaws, voting electronically by members who are not physically present is prohibited.

See §45:56 in RONR (12th Ed.) See also 9:30 - 9:36. Pay particular attention to all of the provisions that say absentee electronic voting by members who are not physically present must be specifically authorized in the bylaws.

Edited by Richard Brown
Added last paragraph with citations
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Guest Sandra, You said that this is to be a convention and it is to be both in person and virtual. I do not know your precise situation, but it may indeed be possible to permit the remote participants to vote.

I served as the parliamentarian for a “hybrid“ convention consisting of approximately 500 delegates who were present in person and another 500 who were participating virtually. In order to permit those who were participating virtually to be able to vote, the first item of business which the in person delegates took up after adopting the credentials committee report was the consideration and adoption of a short and simple one time bylaw amendment permitting remote participation and voting at that convention.  The bylaw amendment was adopted overwhelmingly with little or no debate.  

Since a bylaw amendment takes place immediately upon adoption, the adoption of that amendment permitted the remote Delegates to participate fully and to vote for the remainder of the convention.

Note: in the situation I described, we did not have a quorum problem. I don’t know if this would be an issue in your organization.


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14 hours ago, Guest Sandra said:

Our organization is having a Convention, in person and virtual.  We were told that if you are viewing the Convention you can not vote.  Your

vote will only count if you are there in person.  Is this legal?

If the rules in RONR apply, voting is limited to persons physically present.

But whether they do apply or not is a more complex question, which depends upon your bylaws, special rules of order, and potentially any standing rules for your convention.

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