Robert's Rules
SURVIVAL
TIPS
on Parliamentary
Procedure

According to
Robert's
RULES OF
ORDER

California State
Association of
Parliamentarians

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Survival Tips on
Robert's Rules of Order

The Vote Expresses the Will of the Assembly

The assembly expresses its will through the vote. The bylaws must define the voting level that adopts each type of decision so as to reflect the seriousness of each decision. Certain decisions are routine and not controversial, while others may affect the entire membership adversely.

  1. Unanimous Consent:
    Applied to decisions that are so routine that time should not be wasted on a formal process, (e.g., adopt the agenda, adopting the minutes, declare a meeting adjourned). The chair merely states, ďIf there is no objection, the agenda will be adopted.Ē There is no second, no debate, no voting. This is not a unilateral decision by the chair being that the assembly is granting its consent by not objecting.

  2. Voice Vote:
    Applied to main motions and subsidiary motions dealing with the business of the association, (e.g., motion to buy 3 computers). The motion is made, seconded, debated, and then voted upon by voice vote.

  3. Majority of Votes Cast:
    This is the most common level required for the adoption of most main motions. Applied to counted votes of elections as well.

  4. 2/3 of Votes Cast:
    Applied to motions that deny the members certain rights, such as debate, nominate, adherence to the agenda. Some bylaws commonly require this level for adopting amendments to the bylaws, if a notice has been given.

  5. Majority of those Present:
    I donít know a good example of when this applies, except when the bylaws wish the majority to yield to the tyranny of the minority. A minority finds it easy to defeat a motion being that the larger the group, the greater the number of votes required to adopt a motion.

  6. 2/3 of those Present:
    I donít know a good example of when this applies, except when the bylaws wish the majority to succumb to the tyranny of the minority. A minority finds it easy to defeat a motion being that the larger the group, the greater the number of votes required to adopt a motion.

  7. Majority of the Entire Membership:
    Applied to a serious decision not favored by the members such as levying assessments on the membership.

  8. 2/3 of the Entire Membership:
    Applied to a decision not favored by the members such as mayor or drastic changes to the associationís structure or purpose.
Let us look at 2 examples:
  • A board of 9 members with a quorum of 5.
    The difference is slight.

    a. Majority of votes cast:
    If 3 vote, 2 is the smallest number of votes that will adopt a motion.

    b. Majority of those present:
    If 9 vote, 5 is the smallest number of votes that will adopt a motion.

  • A club of 100 members with a quorum of 51.
    Now we see the great difference.

    a. Majority of votes cast:
    If 3 vote, 2 is the smallest number of votes that will adopt a motion.

    b. Majority of those present:
    If 100 vote, 51 is the smallest number of votes that will adopt a motion.

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