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Debunking Election Controversy & Parliamentary Procedure

Written by Zach Aug 11, 2006

Excerpts from a Q and A with

Dr. John A. Cagle,
Parliamentarian of the Academic Senate
and Professor of Communication
at California State University, Fresno

There is no such thing as a 2/3 majority. The correct language is a 2/3 vote. Majority in law and parliamentary procedure always means “more than half.” Abstentions are never counted, although in some cases the failure of a motion to receive a certain vote (e.g., 2/3 of the members present) an abstention has the effect of a negative vote.

Ah ha. Outlines our problem right there.

“Two-thirds vote of the members present and voting” has a clear meaning: If there are thirty members voting and the vote is 4-2 (with everyone else abstaining), then the motion passes.
“Two-thirds vote of the members present” would require 20 affirmative votes for the motion to pass.

How does it stand now? It stands now that two thirds vote of the members present are required to pass. I believe that we should change this, slightly.

So as not to have situations like the one above, where in a 30 member org, 4 aye votes passed an amendment, we should require a majority of voters present vote aye, and 2/3rd of the members present and voting vote aye.

That way we know we have a majority, and 2/3 vote of the people who feel strongly about the issue.

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