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Abstaining


Guest P. Sterle

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Let's say a motion needs simple majority to pass. There are thirteen members. Eight abstain, two vote no three vote yes. Did the vote pass? Is it out of voting body? Or the active body? Where in RONR would I find this?

The motion was adopted by a vote of 3-2.

See FAQ #6.

This assumes that what's required is "a majority vote". If a "simple majority" is required, there might be some ambiguity.

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Is it out of voting body? Or the active body?

The fact that you ask these questions leads me to wonder if there is a reason? Is there something you aren't telling us? Or is it simply that you just aren't clear how votes are calculated?

The basic approach to voting on most motions is based on a majority (more than half) of the votes cast (abstentions are not votes and don't count). In your case, five votes were cast, and the majority of those votes were in the affirmative. The motion passed.

Sometimes, due to different circumstances of the motion, and whether notice was required and properly met or not, the voting threshold may be higher. There may also be rules in your organization which require a majority of the entire membership, or majority of members present, for example. That changes the math.

So, barring any of that muddying up of the waters, 3 yes 2 no 8 abstain means the motion passed.

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The motion was adopted by a vote of 3-2.

See FAQ #6.

This assumes that what's required is "a majority vote". If a "simple majority" is required, there might be some ambiguity.

Why would there be ambiguity? Granted, a "simple majority" is improper terminology, but is it any more than that? Is there any reason to suspect that it ever means anything other than "majority"? Does "widow woman" ever mean anything other than "widow".

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Why would there be ambiguity? Granted, a "simple majority" is improper terminology, but is it any more than that? Is there any reason to suspect that it ever means anything other than "majority"?

"Let's say a motion needs simple majority to pass"

I have no problem with the word "simple". My thought was that it's not clear (or at least not crystal-clear) what the word "majority" is referring to. Is it a majority of the membership? A majority of the members present? A majority of the members present and voting? On the other hand, we know what a "majority vote" means.

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"Let's say a motion needs simple majority to pass"

I have no problem with the word "simple". My thought was that it's not clear (or at least not crystal-clear) what the word "majority" is referring to. Is it a majority of the membership? A majority of the members present? A majority of the members present and voting? On the other hand, we know what a "majority vote" means.

Okay, but In my experience, the word "simple" has always been a (misguided) attempt to clarify or emphasize that it is not any of those other types, but rather the simple type, i.e. a majority vote.

I just wonder if we're not looking for trouble where we don't have to.

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Okay, but In my experience, the word "simple" has always been a (misguided) attempt to clarify or emphasize that it is not any of those other types, but rather the simple type, i.e. a majority vote.

I just wonder if we're not looking for trouble where we don't have to.

I agree it's very likely that what's required in this instance is a majority vote. I wouldn't even be surprised if the word "simple" did not appear in the bylaws (but wouldn't be surprised if it did).

I take "simple" to mean the barest majority possible, as distinguished from a "super majority". As such, there could be a simple majority of the entire membership. And a member could make a point of order to that effect (whether misguided or not). The chair could rule, as you presumably would, that "majority" means "majority vote" but I think he would have a hard time finding something in RONR to support that position.

Again, I don't think it's likely (which is why I said "might") but it's certainly possible.

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I think it's "a majority vote" as well. Much as we see slate used here, and questions of how the quorum affects the vote, and so forth, it's more a likelihood that it's just improper terminology used in the context we expect and assume.

What troubled me was the second and third questions, indicating there might be a different threshold of membership involved (of members present, of entire membership, etc).

It would be nice of our OP would return and advise. Oh, P Sterle????? Hallooo?

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In the chapter, there is simple majority (51%). majority pluss one, so out of 15 it would be 9 to pass, then there's two thirds vote to pass and three fourths to pass. So that's why I said simple majority.

Actually, a majority is (simply) more than half, not 51% (and not, as some think, 50%+1). For example, if there are 200 votes, 101 votes would constitute a majority vote. But 51% of 200 is 102.

Of course you have to follow your rules as they are written but just make sure you're quoting the actual bylaw.

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In the chapter, there is simple majority (51%). majority pluss one, so out of 15 it would be 9 to pass, then there's two thirds vote to pass and three fourths to pass. So that's why I said simple majority.

Majority means "more than half," not "51%," "half plus one," or "majority plus one."

Out of 15:

Majority vote = 8

51% = 7.65

Half plus one = 8.5

Majority plus one = >8.5

So, which is it? This is a good example of the confusion that can arise when bylaws stray from common parliamentary law or try to redefine elements contained in the parliamentary authority.

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In the chapter, there is simple majority (51%). majority pluss one, so out of 15 it would be 9 to pass, then there's two thirds vote to pass and three fourths to pass. So that's why I said simple majority.

Where do you find this "chapter"? Doesnt sound like RONR to me?

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Let's say a motion needs simple majority to pass. There are thirteen members. Eight abstain, two vote no three vote yes. Did the vote pass? Is it out of voting body? Or the active body? Where in RONR would I find this?

In the chapter, there is simple majority (51%). majority pluss one, so out of 15 it would be 9 to pass, then there's two thirds vote to pass and three fourths to pass. So that's why I said simple majority.

You see, this is where the wording (in your bylaws/rules/etc if you stray from RONR) can get murky. You had 5 votes cast. (let's steer clear of "voting body" and "active body" for the moment)

A majority (more than half) would be greater than 2.5, and you had 3 yeses. Motion passed

51% of 5 would be 2.55 votes, so again your 3 yeses pass the motion.

But "majority plus one" (that is > (2.5 + 1)) means greater than 3.5 votes, and now your motion fails.

So, is there some actual wording in your governing documents to which you are referring, or is your reference to "simple majority" (and all its offered permutations) just your understanding of how voting, and RONR, works?

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In the chapter, there is simple majority (51%). majority pluss one, so out of 15 it would be 9 to pass, then there's two thirds vote to pass and three fourths to pass. So that's why I said simple majority.

You are just suffering from a very common case of somewhat inaccurate terminology. There is no such thing in RONR as a "simple" majority. There is a "majority vote."

A majority is not 51%, nor is a majority equal to a majority plus one (!?), nor is it 50% plus one. A majority is any number that is more than half, no matter how little, as long as it is more. So 50% is the largest number that is not a majority. Anything larger is.

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After much deliberation, the chaptr has decided that all votes would be out of the members present. So even if eight abstain it still fails. Thanks guys.

I hope you mean that the chapter has deliberated and changed the bylaws.

If the bylaws do not specify "of members present", then you are not permitted to count abstentions as No votes. That infringes on the rights of members NOT to vote, which is implicit in the right TO vote.

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I hope you mean that the chapter has deliberated and changed the bylaws.

If the bylaws do not specify "of members present", then you are not permitted to count abstentions as No votes. That infringes on the rights of members NOT to vote, which is implicit in the right TO vote.

And you thought there was no ambiguity in the unadorned word, "majority"!

I think the assembly could interpret it to mean a majority of the members present (or even a majority of the entire membership) as easily as interpreting it to mean a majority of those present and voting.

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And you thought there was no ambiguity in the unadorned word, "majority"!

I think the assembly could interpret it to mean a majority of the members present (or even a majority of the entire membership) as easily as interpreting it to mean a majority of those present and voting.

As easily, to be sure--but arguably not as properly.

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