(336) 378-1899

Return to Articles Online Listing


Parliamentary Procedure Brainteaser Archives 3

 

For current parliamentary procedure brainteasers, visit http://ww.jimslaughter.com/brainteasers.cfm

NOTE: All brainteaser answers have been updated to Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   The members at a meeting review the minutes of the prior meeting.  An error in the minutes is noted and corrected.  Where does Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) suggest that corrections to the minutes be noted?   

Answer:   "Any correction approved by the assembly is made in the text of the minutes being approved; the minutes of the meeting making the correction merely state that the minutes were approved “as corrected,” without specifying what the correction was."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 48 (p. 469). 

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) describes a situation in which the chair, without objection, simply permits a brief pause, without a declaration of a recess.  What is the term describing such action?

Answer:   To "stand at ease."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 8 (p. 82). 

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A large board with a parliamentary authority of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) is considering a proposal to "construct a new facility at a cost not to exceed $100,000."  During debate, it becomes apparent that different members have different thoughts on the amount of money to spend on the facility.  A member moves "to create a blank by striking out of the pending motion the sum '$100,000'" so that an unlimited number of proposal can be considered at the same time.  Is the motion to create the blank debatable?  Are suggestions to fill the blank debatable? 

Answer:   While the motion to create a blank is undebatable (and requires a majority vote), proposals to fill a blank in a debatable motion are debatable.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 12 (p. 164). 

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A nonmember begins to disrupt the monthly meeting of an organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  The chair orders the offending nonmember to leave the hall.  If the nonmember does not feel that the order is fair, what can she do about it procedurally? 

Answer:   "Nonmembers, on the other hand—or a particular nonmember or group of nonmembers—can be excluded at any time from part or all of a meeting of a society, or from all of its meetings.   Such exclusion can be effected by a ruling of the chair in cases of disorder . . . .   Members, however, can appeal from the decision of the chair. . . ."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 61 (p. 644-645).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your board of directors meets three times each year and follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  A member wishes to delay the consideration of a matter until more information can be obtained.  Can the motion to Postpone to a Certain Time be used to delay the matter until the next board meeting? 

Answer:   No.  "In a case where more than a quarterly time interval (see pp. 89-90) will elapse between meetings (for example, in an annual convention of delegates or in a local society that holds only an annual meeting), a question cannot be postponed beyond the end of the present session."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 14 (p. 183). 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), there are three variations of the motion to Commit whose object is not to turn the main question over to a smaller group, but to permit the assembly's full meeting body to consider it with the greater freedom of debate that is allowed in committees--that is, with no limit on the number of times a member can speak.  What are these three forms?

Answer:   "These forms of the motion are: (a) to 'go into a committee of the whole'; (b) to 'go into quasi committee of the whole' (or, to 'consider as if in committee of the whole'; and (c) to 'consider informally.'"  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 13 (p. 168). 

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), which of the following parliamentary steps could be in order while the privileged motion to Adjourn is pending?

Answer:   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 21 (p. 238-239):

To make important announcements - Yes

To move to table the motion to adjourn - No

To move to recess for 5 minutes - No

To move to reconsider a previous vote - Yes

To move to limit debate on the motion to adjourn - No

To move to set the time for an adjourned meeting - Yes

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A motion is being debated at the monthly meeting of an organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  After some discussion, the maker and seconder of the motion realize that a small wording change should be made to the motion.  Do they have this right?

Answer:   No more than other members of the assembly.  “To modify a motion after it has been stated by the chair, the maker asks permission to do so, as in the case of withdrawal of a motion.  If there is no objection, the chair states the question on the modified motion.  If anyone objects, the chair must then determine whether an amendment equivalent to the requested modification would be in order. . . . A pending motion can be amended only by vote or unanimous consent of the assembly, even if the maker of the motion states that he ‘accepts’ the amendment.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 33 (p. 297-298).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A committee has voted 8 to 3 in favor of presenting a motion to the assembly for adoption?  May a committee member who does not agree with the report speak against the motion before the assembly, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:   "But in debate on any written or oral report in the assembly, any member of the reporting committee who does not concur has the same right as any other member of the assembly to speak individually in opposition.  No one can make allusion in the assembly to what has occurred during the deliberations of the committee, however, unless it is by report of the committee or by unanimous consent.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 51 (p. 528).

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   You are in a meeting that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  You make a motion to reconsider an item that was discussed and adopted several meetings before the present one.  The chairman notes that because no notice of the motion to reconsider was given and because of some members not being present at the meeting, a two-thirds vote will be required to adopt the motion to reconsider.  What type of meeting are you attending?

Answer:   A meeting of a standing or special committee.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 37 (p. 330).

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are a delegate to an annual convention that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  You wish to delay consideration of the pending resolution until next year's annual convention.  What motion should you use?

Answer:   The subsidiary motion to Commit or Refer.  "If two business sessions are separated by more than a quarterly time interval . . . then business can go over from the earlier session to the later one only by means of referral to a committee."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 9 (p. 90).

 

(Difficulty level = 2)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), this is a committee that is appointed, as the need arises, to carry out a specified task, at the completion of which the committee automatically ceases to exist.   What is this type of committee called?

Answer:   A "special committee" (or "select committee" or "ad hoc committee").  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 50 (p. 492).

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   A motion is laid on the table by an organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Later in the same meeting, a motion to Take from the Table is made, seconded, and defeated.  Another matter of business is then taken up.  How long must a member wait before again moving to take from the table (or should the motion to Take from the Table be reconsidered?)?

Answer:   The motion to Take from the Table cannot be reconsidered.  "A motion to Take from the Table that has failed can be renewed after disposal of the business that was taken up following rejection of the motion."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 38 (p. 340).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A new edition of the most popular parliamentary authority was released in 2011.  What is the full title of the book?

Answer:   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   You are the member of an organization and have been asked to serve as parliamentarian.  Are there any rights as a member that you must forego to accept this position, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:   "A member of an assembly who acts as its parliamentarian has the same duty as the presiding officer to maintain a position of impartiality, and therefore does not make motions, participate in debate, or vote on any question except in the case of a ballot vote."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 48 (p. 467).

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your organization follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Is it permitted for a member to speak against her own motion?  Can she vote against it?

Answer:   May vote against the motion; may not speak against it.  "In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 43 (p. 393).

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Your parliamentary authority is The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition).  What motions can be reconsidered?

Answer:   Main motions may be reconsidered.  Other motions cannot.  The Standard Code, p. 236.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   You are a member of an organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  At last week's meeting, a motion was adopted that you now wish to repeal.  However, you were not present at that meeting.  Can you make the motion to Rescind? 

Answer:   Yes.  There are no restrictions on who may move the motion to Rescind (unlike the motion to Reconsider).  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 35 (p. 307). 

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A member realizes just after the result of a vote is announced that she accidentally voted on the wrong side of the question.  If the organization’s parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what must the member do to change her vote?

Answer:   “A member has a right to change his vote up to the time the result is announced; after that, he can make the change only by the unanimous consent of the assembly granted without debate, immediately following the chair’s announcement of the result of the vote.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 45 (p. 408). 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   A member appeals from a decision of the chair at a regular monthly meeting of an organization.  After debate on the appeal, the chair states the question as follows: "The question is: 'Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?'"  The vote is 89 affirmative and 90 negative.  If the organization’s parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), can the chair (who is a member of the assembly) vote on the appeal and will the chair's vote have any effect on the outcome of this appeal?

Answer:   “A majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair on the principle that the chair's decision stands until reversed by a majority.  If the presiding officer is a member of the assembly, he can vote to create a tie and thus sustain his decision.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 24 (p. 258). 

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), can a member "explain" his vote during voting?

Answer:   “A member has no right to "explain his vote" during voting, which would be the same as debate at such a time.”  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 45 (p. 408). 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are a delegate to a national convention that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  According to the adopted program, the time for adjournment of a particular session is at 4:00 pm.  A motion is made at 3:15 to adjourn the session.  You wish to speak against the motion to Adjourn.  Is the motion to Adjourn debatable?

Answer:   Yes (if the motion to Adjourn is in order at all, given the parliamentary situation).  "Under any of conditions (1) through (3) above [(2) reads as follows: "When a time for adjourning is already established, either because the assembly has adopted a motion or a program setting such a time, or because the order of business, the bylaws, or other governing rules prescribe it."], a motion to adjourn is not privileged and is treated just as any other main motion."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 21 (p. 234). 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   The parliamentary authority for your organization is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  A main motion is under discussion.  The Previous Question is moved, seconded, and ordered by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting.  A member then obtains the floor and asks that the main motion be divided into two questions.  Is the motion to divide in order procedurally?

Answer:   "Although it is preferable to divide a question when it is first introduced, a motion to divide can be made at any time that the main motion, an amendment which it is proposed to divide, or the motion to Postpone Indefinitely is immediately pending--even after the Previous Question has been ordered."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 27 (p. 271). 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   What is the "Gordian Knot motion" and which authority discusses this parliamentary maneuver?

Answer:   The "Gordian Knot motion" is a use of the motion to Suspend Rules in order to get a fresh start.  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure 4th Edition discusses the process at page 86.   

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your organization is considering a main motion.  If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) , is it in order to move to strike out one word at the beginning of the motion and one word at the end of the motion in the same motion to amend?

Answer:   No.  "When a motion to strike out certain words is made, it can be applied only to consecutive words . . . .  To strike out separated words, the best method is to make a motion to strike out the entire clause or sentence containing the separated words and insert a new clause or sentence as desired.  Separated words can also be struck out by separate motions."   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 12 (p. 139).     

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your organization follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  A proposed amendment to the bylaws is pending that will require a two-thirds vote for adoption.  If an amendment from the floor is proposed to the bylaws amendment, what vote is required for adoption according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)

Answer:   Majority vote.  "While amendments to a proposed bylaw amendment can be made in both the first and the second degrees (as applicable) and can be adopted by a majority vote without notice, they are subject to restrictions on the extent of the changes they propose."   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 57 (p. 594-595).     

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), the motion to create a blank by striking out is what type of motion?

Answer:   Incidental motion.   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) Table of Rules Relating to Motion, p. 10.      

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what vote is required on the motion to Suspend the Rules when the rule is a convention standing rule?

Answer:   "Any standing rule of a convention (except one prescribing the parliamentary authority) can be suspended for a particular specified purpose by a majority vote, even if the rule required a two-thirds vote for its adoption.  Under such a suspension, however, the applicable rules in the parliamentary authority prescribed by the bylaws (or by a rule of the convention) come into force--as if the standing rule had not been adopted.  To suspend a convention standing rule and also the general parliamentary rule normally applying to the same situation requires a two-thirds vote, just as to suspend the general rule when no standing rule is involved."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 59 (p. 620-621).     

  

(Difficulty level = 2)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what should be stated in the last paragraph of minutes?

Answer:   The hour of adjournment.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 48 (p. 470). 

    

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what are the notice and vote requirements to adopt a standing rule which is not related to a convention?

Answer:   "A standing rule can be adopted by a majority vote without previous notice, provided that it does not conflict with or amend any existing rule or act of the society."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 2, p. 18.  (NOTE: The rules governing standing rules in conventions differ from ordinary standing rules.)

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Ed.), can an officer be a candidate for another office without resigning the first office?

Answer:   "Unless the bylaws provide otherwise, a member who holds an office may be a candidate for another office, but if the member is elected to and accepts an incompatible office, the former office is forfeited."  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, p.154. 

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   You are a member of a ten person board with a parliamentary authority of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Three members have left the board and replacements have not yet been named.  If all rules of the organization are silent as to quorum, how many individuals must be present at a meeting to transact business?

Answer:   Four.  "In any other deliberative assembly with enrolled membership whose bylaws do not specify a quorum, the quorum is a majority of all the members."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 40, p. 346.  At present, the total membership of the board is seven (and four is a majority of seven). 

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are attending the monthly meeting of an organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  A motion is made to "purchase a new office desk at a cost not to exceed $1,500."  An amendment is proposed to strike the number "$1,500" and to insert "$1,000."  A secondary amendment is proposed to strike "$1,000" and to insert "$750."  At this point, a member gains the floor and moves "to create a blank by striking out of the pending motion the dollar figure."  Another member immediately raises a point of order that there cannot be three amendments on the floor at the same time.  Is the point of order well taken?

Answer:   No.  "Although the motion to create a blank may appear to resemble a motion to amend by striking out and inserting, it is in fact an incidental motion (see pp. 69).  The motion to create a blank . . .  can also be made and voted on while a primary or a secondary amendment relating to the subject specification is pending."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 12, p. 163. 

  

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   What is a "Texas ballot" and which parliamentary authority describes it?

Answer:   "A Texas ballot is a method of plurality voting in which voters indicate the candidate that they do not wish to be elected."  This method of voting is described in The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, p. 247. 

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   The phrase, "The next order of business is . . .," should never be used, according to Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law.  Why?

Answer:   "The phrase 'the next business in order' is correct; the phrase 'the next order of business' is incorrect." 

    "Note: To say 'the first order of business,' or 'the next [or, the third] order of business,' is like saying 'the first week of the day,' or 'the next [or, the third] year of the month,' or 'the next [or, the third] ball game of the inning.'  The assembly has but one order of business--the various categories or items of business as listed under an order of business are to be acted on in that scheduled business order.  Hence say: 'the first business in order,' 'the next business in order,' 'the last business in order,' and not 'the first order of business,' or 'the second order of business,' etc.  It is a gross error to say 'the first order of business,' and the like."  Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law, p. 15. 

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   The board of an association is required by its bylaws to meet the first Thursday of each month.  At this month's meeting, a quorum is not present prior to the start of the meeting.  The officers attempt to obtain a quorum, but are not successful.  As a result, no business is transacted.  Must another meeting on another day in the same month be held to comply with the bylaws requirement, if the organization's parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:   No.  "But if a quorum fails to appear at a regular or properly called meeting, the inability to transact business does not detract from the fact that the society's rules requiring the meeting to be held were complied with and the meeting was convened--even though it had to adjourn immediately."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 40, p. 347. 

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   A homeowners association holds one meeting (the "Annual Meeting") a year.  Can the motion to Postpone to a Certain Time be adopted by such a group, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:   Yes, but only if the motion does not postpone the matter beyond the current session.  "In a case where more than a quarterly time interval (see pp. 89-90) will elapse between meetings (for example in an annual convention of delegates or in a local society that holds only an annual meeting), a question cannot be postponed beyond the end of the present session."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 14, p. 183. 

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Demeter's Manual of Parliamentary Law suggests the mnemonic S-H-I-P for remembering the subjects upon which a question of privilege may be raised.  What does each letter represent?

Answer:   "Question of privilege relates in a broad interpretation to the following subjects: the members' Safety, Health, or Integrity, or protection of their Property (catchword: S-H-I-P).  When a member rises to a question of privilege or personal privilege and is asked to state it, he is expected to reveal or point out something concerning these four subjects; namely, the subjects S-H-I-P."  Demeter, p. 106. 

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what information should be contained in the first paragraph of the minutes of a meeting?

Answer:  

 "(1) the kind of meeting: regular, special, adjourned regular, or adjourned special;

(2) the name of the society or assembly;

(3) the date and time of the meeting, and the place, if it is not always the same;

(4) the fact that the regular chairman and secretary were present or, in their absence, the names of the persons who substituted for them; and

(5) whether the minutes of the previous meeting were read and approved--as read, or as corrected--and the date of that meeting if it was other than a regular business meeting.  Any correction is made in the text of the minutes being approved; the minutes of the meeting making the correction merely state that the minutes were approved 'as corrected' without specifying what the correction was (see form, p. 472, ll. 8-9)."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 48, p. 468-469.

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), an affirmative vote on a motion to Commit (or Refer) cannot be reconsidered if the committee has begun consideration of the question.  Why?

Answer:   Because the motion to Discharge a Committee (see section 36) must be used.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 13, p. 171. 

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   You are attending a convention that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  A resolution was introduced during the morning session to hold the annual banquet on Friday evening this year.  An amendment to change the night to Saturday was adopted (and you supported the amendment).  Everyone now realizes that the Saturday banquet conflicts with the largest social event of the year.  The entire banquet issue needs to be revisited.  How do you word your motion to bring back up for discussion and vote both the amendment and the main motion?

Answer:   "I move to reconsider the votes on the resolution relating to the annual banquet and on the amendment to strike out 'Friday' and insert 'Saturday."  I voted for the amendment."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 37, p. 330.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   You are a member of a five person board of directors that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) to the letter.  (The board does not have any adopted procedural rules, other than Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).)  A resolution is being discussed concerning holding the annual general membership meeting in Chicago, IL.  A motion is made to postpone the discussion and vote on the resolution until the next board meeting.  Does the motion to postpone to a certain time need a second to be considered?

Answer:   No.  "In a board meeting where there are not more than about a dozen members present, . . . [m]otions need not be seconded."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 49, p. 487-488.

  

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), the seconder of a motion can speak against (if the motion is debatable) or vote against the motion he seconded.  What can the maker of the motion NOT do?

Answer:   "In debate, the maker of a motion, while he can vote against it, is not allowed to speak against his own motion.  He need not speak at all, but if he does he is obliged to take a favorable position.  If he changes his mind while the motion he made is pending, he can, in effect, advise the assembly of this by asking permission to withdraw the motion (pp. 295-97)."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 43, p. 393.

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), is the motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn in order if there is a meeting scheduled for later within the same session?

Answer:   No.  "A motion to Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn is in order only if at the time it is offered there is no meeting scheduled for later within the same session.  If there is such a meeting, additional meetings within the same session may be set by a motion either to Suspend the Rules (25) or to Amend Something Previously Adopted (35), namely, the previously adopted agenda or program for the session."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 22, p. 242.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are at a meeting that is considering a particularly contentious main motion.  After approximately one hour of heated debate, a motion was made and adopted to limit debate to one additional hour.  There are five minutes of debate remaining before the end of the one-hour limit.  You wish to postpone the main motion to another time.  Given the current parliamentary situation, is the motion to postpone in order?

Answer:   No.  "It [the motion to Postpone To A Certain Time] cannot be moved after the adoption of a motion to close debate on the main question at a definite hour or of a motion to limit the total time allowed for debate; but it remains in order if only a limitation on the length of speeches is in order (see 15)."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 14, p. 181-182

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your parliamentary authority is Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) and no state statutes govern your organization.  Under what circumstances can a member examine the minutes of the society?  Can the member also examine the minutes of the society's board of directors, if she is not a member of the board? 

Answer:   "Any member has a right to examine these reports and the record book(s) . . . including the minutes of an executive session, at a reasonable time and place, but this privilege must not be abused to the annoyance of the secretary.  The same principle applies to the minutes of boards and committees, their records being accessible to members of the boards or committees but to no others."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 47, p. 460.

 

(Difficulty level = 2)

Question:   Your organization follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  After being recognized, a member moves "that five delegates be sent to the national convention."  The motion is seconded.  What should you say as presiding officer to "state the question on the motion" prior to debate?

Answer:   "It is moved and seconded that five delegates be sent to the national convention."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 4, p. 37.

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what must be done if the assembly is to elect a chairman pro tem to hold office beyond the current session (in the event of illness or disability of both the regular presiding officer and his alternate)?

Answer:   "[N]otice must be given at the preceding meeting or in the call of the meeting that elects him.  One session cannot interfere with the freedom of each new session to choose its own chairman pro tem except by an election held with previous notice (pp. 121-24)."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 8, p. 88.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   An organization's bylaws provide for a parliamentary authority of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), but no method for amending the bylaws.  How can the bylaws be amended and by what vote?

Answer:   "If the bylaws contain no provision for their amendment, they can be amended by a two-thirds vote if previous notice (in the sense defined on p. 121) has been given, or they can be amended by the vote of a majority of the entire membership."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 56 p. 581.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what is the proper form for making a Request for Information when information is desired of another member who is speaking?

Answer:   "Madam President, will the member yield for a question?"

or

"Mr. President, I would like to ask the gentlemen [or 'the member'] a question." 

"If the speaker consents to the interruption, the time consumed will be taken out of his allowed time."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 33, p. 295.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), which incidental motion does NOT require a second, but does require a vote? 

Answer:     Objection to Consideration.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 26, p. 268.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are attending a meeting that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) to the letter.  A member moves to reconsider an earlier vote on an objection to the consideration of a resolution.  Another member raises a point of order that it is out of order to reconsider the vote on an objection to consideration.  Who is right?

Answer:     Not enough information to answer because we don't if the objection to consideration passed or failed.  "A negative vote--that is, a vote sustaining the objection--can be reconsidered, but not an affirmative vote."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 26, p. 268.

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   Your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  RONR states that during a vote the chair must always call for the negative vote except for two possible exceptions.  What are these exceptions?

Answer:     "The chair must always call for the negative vote, no matter how nearly unanimous the affirmative vote may appear, except that this rule is commonly relaxed in the case of noncontroversial motions of a complimentary or courtesy nature; but even in such a case, if any member objects, the chair must call for the negative vote.  A further exception arises when the negative vote is intrinsically irrelevant, as, for example, when 'a vote of one fifth of the members present' is required, and the number who have voted in the affirmative is clearly greater than one fifth of those present (see p. 403)."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 4, p. 45.

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   The motion to Lay on the Table is commonly misused in organizations that follow Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  In fact, RONR goes so far as to state the following: "In ordinary assemblies, the motion to Lay on the Table is out of order if the evident intent is to ____ or _____ dealing with a measure."  What words are missing?

Answer:     "In ordinary assemblies, the motion to Lay on the Table is out of order if the evident intent is to kill or avoid dealing with a measure."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 17, p. 210.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Name at least two parliamentary steps that are in order even after an assembly has voted to adjourn, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).

Answer:    

To inform the assembly of business requiring attention before adjournment.

To make important announcements.

To make (but not to take up) a motion to reconsider a previous vote.

To make a motion to Reconsider and Enter on the Minutes.

To give notice of a motion to be made at the next meeting (or on the next day, in a session consisting of daily meetings) where the motion requires previous notice.

To move to set a time for an adjourned meeting if there is no meeting scheduled for later within the same session.

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 21, p. 238-239.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   What are the rights of the presiding officer to vote in the event of a ballot vote, according to The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition)?                                                   

Answer:     Ballot Voting.  When vote is by ballot, the presiding officer (if a member of the organization) votes the same as anyone else.  But in such cases if a tie results, the chair cannot break the tie by voting a second time unless the bylaws provide that this may be done in case of a deadlock tie vote.  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, page 137.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   There are two types of questions of privilege.  What are they and which has priority over the other, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:     "Questions of privilege are of two types: (1) those relating to the privileges of the assembly as a whole; and (2) questions of personal privilege.  If the two come into competition, the former take precedence over the latter."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 19, p. 227.  

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   The current "Mission Statement" of an organization is amended during a meeting using the motion to Rescind/Amend Something Previously Adopted.  Later in the meeting, it is realized that a single word change would make the Statement more grammatically correct.  Can the motion to Reconsider be used at the same meeting to revisit this issue, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:    No, not through the motion to Reconsider.  "A negative vote on these motions [Rescind/Amend Something Previously Adopted] can be reconsidered, but not an affirmative vote."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 35, p. 307.  It may be simpler to just make another motion to Rescind/Amend Something Previously Adopted as to new word change (which, without previous notice, will require a higher vote requirement as detailed in Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)).

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), the official organization of a convention is brought about by the separate consideration and adoption of the reports of what three committees in what order?

Answer:    The Credentials Committee, the Committee on Standing Rules, and the Program Committee. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 59, p. 609-610. 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   An organization wishes to have as its elected treasurer a well-known accountant, who is not eligible for membership in the organization.  The bylaws have no provisions on qualifications for office.  Can a non-member be elected as an officer, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:    "In most societies it is usual to elect the officers from among the members; but in all except secret societies, unless the bylaws provide otherwise, it is possible for an organization to choose its officers from outside its membership." Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 47, p. 447 

 

(Difficulty level = 2)

Question:   The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition) notes that members of an organization may be unaware of related motions previously adopted or may overlook them.  What is the Standard Code's name for the process by which an earlier motion is repealed when a later motion is adopted that conflicts in whole or in part with the motion or motions previously adopted?

Answer:    Repeal by implication.  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition), p. 30. 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), how should an adjourned meeting begin?

Answer:   "An adjourned meeting takes up its work at the point where it was interrupted in the order of business or in the consideration of the question that was postponed to the adjourned meeting, except that the minutes of the preceding meeting are first read."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 9, p. 94. 

 

(Difficulty level = 1)

Question:   An ordinary society proceeds through different headings in the order of business, such as "Reading and Approval of Minutes."  One heading is often incorrectly referred to as "Old Business" and refers to questions that have come over from the previous meeting.  According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), what is the correct title for this part of the order of business?

Answer:   "Unfinished Business" or "Unfinished Business and General Orders."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 41, p.58

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   A school board meets monthly with a parliamentary authority of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Using the motion to Postpone to a Certain Time, how long can a matter be postponed?

Answer:   "In cases where no more than a quarterly time interval will elapse between sessions, a question can be postponed until, but not beyond, the next regular business session.  For example, in a society that holds regular business meetings on the same day of each week, a question cannot, at one meeting, be postponed for longer than a week."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 14, p. 183.

 

(Difficulty level = 1)

Question:   What is the name of the form of amendment that seeks to strike out an entire paragraph, section, or article--or a complete main motion or resolution--and insert a different paragraph or other unit in its place, according to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition)?

Answer:   A "substitute."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 12, p. 153. 

 

(Difficulty level = 2)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), should the officers of an assembly be counted in determining whether or not a quorum is present?

Answer:   "If the officers are members of the assembly--as they usually are in ordinary societies--they are counted in determining whether a quorum is present."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 3, p. 22. 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   You are a member of and the presiding officer at a large monthly meeting that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  You have been told that you can only vote to break a tie.  Is this a correct statement of the rules regarding voting by a presiding officer?

Answer:   No.  "If the presiding officer is a member of the assembly, he can vote as any other member when the vote is by ballot (see also p. 414).  In all other cases the presiding officer, if a member of the assembly, can (but is not obliged to) vote whenever his vote will affect the result--that is, he can vote either to break or to cause a tie; or, in a case where a two-thirds vote is required, he can vote either to cause or to block the attainment of the necessary two thirds."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 44, p. 405.

February 5, 2003  (Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Your organization follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Should the minutes reflect how each member voted if a count has been ordered? 

Answer:   No.  The names of members and how they voted should only be noted on a roll call vote.  "When a count has been ordered or the vote is by ballot, the number of votes on each side should be entered; and when the voting is by roll call, the names of those voting on each side and those answering 'Present' should be entered.  If members fail to respond on a roll-call vote, enough of their names should be recorded as present to reflect that a quorum was present at the time of the vote.  If the chair voted, no special mention of this fact is made in the minutes."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 48, p. 454. 

 

February 12, 2003  (Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Name at least three motions that are amendable but not debatable.

Answer:   Any of the following motions:

amendment to an undebatable motion;

consideration by paragraph or seriatim;

division of a question;

fix the time to which to adjourn (when privileged);

limit or extend limits of debate;

motions relating to methods of voting and the polls;

motions relating to nominations;

recess (when privileged).

Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), Index Table V, p. 43.

  

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) provides for an "adjourned meeting," which is a continuation of a regular or special meeting.  What is the term given to such a continuation of a meeting in The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure?

Answer:   "Continued meeting."  The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, p. 104.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   Using Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) as your parliamentary authority, name at least four different types of nominations.

Answer:   (1) Nominations by the Chair; (2) Nominations from the Floor; (3) Nominations by a Committee; (4) Nominations by Ballot; (5) Nominations by Mail; and (6) Nominations by Petition.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 46, p. 431-438. 

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  An appeal is debatable EXCEPT when?

Answer:   When the appeal (a) relates to indecorum or a transgression of the rules of speaking; (2) relates to the priority of business; or (3) is made when an undebatable question is immediately pending or involved in the appeal.  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 24, p. 257.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   A member has appeared at your annual meeting and demands to vote in the elections, even though he is several months behind in his membership dues (and has failed to respond to two letters demanding immediate payment).  The bylaws have nothing to say about this issue.  Your organization's parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).   Can the member vote?

Answer:   Yes.  "A member of a society who is in arrears in payments of his dues, but who has not been formally dropped from the membership rolls and is not under a disciplinary suspension, retains the full rights of a voting member and is legally entitled to vote except as the bylaws may otherwise provide."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 45, p. 406. 

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   An organization that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) goes into executive session during its January meeting to consider and vote on an important motion.  At the February meeting, the organization goes back into executive session solely to read and act upon the minutes of the previous meeting's executive session.  How do the minutes from the short executive session at the February meeting get approved? 

Answer:   "When the minutes of an executive session must be considered for approval at an executive session held solely for that purpose, the brief minutes of the latter meeting are, or are assumed to be, approved by that meeting."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 9, p. 96.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   The secretary is absent from a meeting that follows Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  Who should fulfill the secretary's duties at the meeting, including taking the minutes?  The bylaws are silent on this issue, but the organization also has a financial secretary and an executive secretary.  Should one of these officers be an automatic replacement? 

Answer:   "In the absence of the secretary, a secretary pro tem should be elected; the corresponding, financial, or executive secretary in organizations having such officers is not an automatic replacement."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 47, p. 460.  [In practice, what often happens and is appropriate is that a person is selected by the presiding officer and "without objection" (unanimous consent) acts as secretary for the meeting.]

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), can the maker of a motion vote against her own motion? 

 Answer:   Yes, but she cannot speak against her own motion (she can also ask permission to withdraw the motion).  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 43, p. 393.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   You are attending a convention governed by Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) and wish to change the program after its adoption.  What vote is required? 

Answer:   "To change the program after its adoption requires a two-thirds vote or the vote of a majority of all the delegates or other 'voting members' of the convention who have been registered--or unanimous consent, which can usually be obtained with no difficulty in cases where a departure from the program is justified."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 59, p. 630.

 

(Difficulty level = 5)

Question:   An organization has held a disciplinary trial pursuant to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition).  One of the managers for the organization has made a motion to expel the member as a penalty.  What vote is required and must the vote be taken by ballot? 

Answer:   "On the demand of a single member both the question of guilt and the question of the penalty must be voted on by ballot. . . .  For expulsion, a two-thirds vote is required."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 63, p. 668.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure (2000 Edition) describes a type of absentee voting by which a member agrees with a member who would have voted opposite to the first member not to vote, which is used in Congress and some state legislatures.  What is the name of this type of absentee voting?

Answer:   "Pairing."  Mason's Manual of Legislative Procedure (2000 Edition) § 538, p. 385.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   If your parliamentary authority is Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), can a motion to Amend be made while a motion to Postpone Indefinitely is pending?  

Answer:   Yes.  The motion to Postpone Indefinitely is not amendable, but an amendment can be proposed to the main motion while a motion to Postpone Indefinitely is pending.  RONR makes the following statement pertaining to the motion to Amend: "When applied to a main motion: It takes precedence over the main motion and over the subsidiary motion to Postpone Indefinitely."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 12, p. 131.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), does a member have the right to explain her vote during voting?  

Answer:   No.  "RULE AGAINST EXPLANATION BY MEMBERS DURING VOTING.  A member has no right to 'explain his vote' during voting, which would be the same as debate at such a time."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 45, p. 408.

 

(Difficulty level = 4)

Question:   Under the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition), what vote is required to demand that an indecisive voice or hand vote be counted?  

Answer:   None.  A single member can make such a demand.  "Effect of Call for Division of the Assembly.  To require the presiding officer to take a standing vote on the motion just voted on and to count the votes if there is any doubt as to which side prevails."  Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (4th Edition), p. 100.

 

(Difficulty level = 3)

Question:   According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition), the motions to Rescind and to Amend Something Previously Adopted require what vote to adopt?

Answer:   "In an assembly, except when applied to a constitution, bylaws, or special rules of order, require (a) a two-thirds voted, (b) a majority vote when notice of intent to make the motion, stating the complete substance of the proposed change, has been given at the previous meeting or in the call of the present meeting, or (c) a vote of a majority of the entire membership—any one of which will suffice.  The same vote is required for the assembly to rescind or amend an action taken by subordinate bodies, such as some executive boards, empowered to act on behalf of the assembly.  In a committee, these motions require a two-thirds vote unless all committee members who voted for the motion to be rescinded or amended are present or have received ample notice, in which case they require a majority vote."  Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) § 35, p. 306.

 

Charts and articles are intended to provide general information on parliamentary procedure and are not legal advice or a legal opinion.