Robert’s Rules Of Order Voting On A Motion: How To Do It

As per Robert's Rules of Order, voting on a motion demands strict compliance with specific procedures and requirements. This ensures the standardization of meetings, allowing all members to participate in a productive and smooth experience.

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As per Robert’s Rules of Order, voting on a motion demands strict compliance with specific procedures and requirements. This ensures the standardization of meetings, allowing all members to participate in a productive and smooth experience.


What Does Robert’s Rules of Order on Voting on a Motion Say?

Organizations must preserve democracy by ensuring all members have a right to vote. When taking a vote on a motion, there are three key questions to consider:

  1. Has the vote been conducted fairly and impartially?
  2. Did each eligible voter get a chance to cast their vote?
  3. Did the announced outcome accurately represent the votes of the members?


Robert’s Rules of Order Voting Method

An assembly can vote via voice, a show of hands, rising or standing, ballot, mail, email, or general/unanimous consent. Alternative methods include proxy voting, preferential voting, and absentee voting. An organization’s bylaws should contain the rules and procedures for these methods.

  • Voice Voting. Members either vote for or against a motion verbally. The chair decides the result based on the volume of “ayes” or “noes.”
  • Show of Hands. Members indicate their votes by raising their hands and offering a visible tally of support or opposition.
  • Rising or Standing. Members rise to signify their vote. Employ this approach when executing a two-thirds vote or re-examining a voice vote following a member’s call for a division.
  • Ballot Voting. The chair instructs members to stand and submit their ballots if a designated ballot box exists. To close the polls, a motion requires a second and a two-thirds majority for approval. Members who haven’t cast their votes can declare their intention before the polls close. Once closed, a majority vote has the authority to reopen the polls. The tellers’ committee tallies the ballots and records the results on a teller’s sheet. The committee chair reports the count to the membership without revealing the vote’s outcome.
  • Mail Voting. Members cast their votes through mail-in ballots, a method designed to facilitate participation for absentee voters. It’s best for businesses that don’t require a swift resolution.
  • Email Voting. Members cast their votes electronically. The instructions accompanying the balloting process must comprehensively outline how to complete and submit the ballot to the organization.
  • General or Unanimous Consent. The chair inquires if there are any objections to a proposal. If no objections arise, the motion is accepted without a formal vote. This method is best for resolving non-controversial topics.


Robert’s Rules of Order Voting Procedure Explained

The chair begins by seeking the affirmative vote first. Following this, the chair requests a negative vote, even in cases where the affirmative vote seems unanimous. The chair does not actively solicit abstentions.

After the vote, the chair promptly announces the outcome. In the event of an affirmative outcome, the chair identifies the individual responsible for implementing the action. If uncertainty arises about the responsible party, members need to motion for a determination.

The chair maintains a neutral position while requesting votes to prevent influencing the membership. It is implicit that a quorum must be present for all voting methods. If the result isn’t clear, the chair may call for a rising vote or a rising and counted vote for a reassessment. If any member questions the vote result, they can audibly invoke “division.”


Robert’s Rules of Order Voting a Motion FAQs

Q: What does majority rules mean?

A majority vote indicates that more than half of the individuals casting votes favor a motion. Specifically, it is achieved when over half of the votes cast by those eligible to vote at a properly convened meeting with a quorum support a motion. Blank votes or abstentions do not contribute to the count.

Determining the majority is based on the votes cast, not the total number of people present. Suppose the bylaws stipulate that a majority of the entire membership must approve a motion. In that case, the majority is determined by the total membership number, not the count of members present or those who cast votes.


Q: When is a two-thirds vote needed?

A two-thirds vote is necessary for limiting or closing debate, suspending or amending a previously adopted rule or order, revoking membership or office, motions closing nominations or the polls, and blocking the introduction of a motion.


Q: What is a three-fourths vote?

Some organizations require a three-fourths vote instead of a two-thirds vote for particular business decisions, officer elections, or admitting new members. The principle is straightforward: three affirmative votes are necessary for every negative vote, ensuring a heightened agreement among members.


Q: What happens when there is a tie vote?

A tie vote occurs when half the members vote in favor and the other half against, leading to no majority. In the absence of a resolution for the tie, the motion fails.

If the presiding officer is a member of the assembly who has not yet voted, they have the authority to break the tie. It’s important to note that the presiding officer is an individual. This means they cannot cast two votes (one as a member and one as an officer). Consequently, they cannot break the tie as the presiding officer if they have already voted as a member.


Q: Can members abstain from voting?

Members can abstain from voting, indicating their choice not to participate in the vote. Abstentions are not categorized as either affirmative or negative votes. They are considered non-votes, and whoever is responsible for counting the votes disregards the abstentions.


Q: Can members question the results of a vote?

It becomes effective if members don’t immediately question the results of a vote. Members can question the vote only until the chair presents a new motion.

  • Calling for a Division. To challenge a close or uncertain vote result, a member can request a division by stating “Division” or expressing doubt about the vote’s outcome. A division is a procedural motion that doesn’t require a second or debate and involves retaking the vote visually with a rising vote. If the result remains unclear, the chair can choose a counted vote, but a member must make a motion to initiate it. This motion requires a second, is not open to debate, and must pass with a majority vote. The chair then counts the votes, announces the result, and records it in the minutes.
  • Doubting Ballot or Roll Call Results. If a member is uncertain about the outcome of a ballot or roll call vote, he or she can propose a recount. This motion typically requires a majority vote unless the rules specify otherwise. After a ballot vote, a motion to dispose of the ballots can be made if a recount is deemed unnecessary. Alternatively, the secretary may retain them temporarily before discarding them. It’s important to record the results of each ballot or roll call vote in the meeting minutes.


A Critical Procedure

Participating in the voting process is a fundamental aspect of organizational governance and is crucial for upholding democratic principles. Homeowners associations benefit from a comprehensive understanding of voting rules and procedures, particularly in the context of motions. However, not all HOA boards know the first thing about Robert’s Rules of Order on voting on a motion.


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