For those who wish a better understanding of the application of parliamentary procedure and Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (12th ed) (RONR), this page will contain comments and explanations from board meetings and other board activities or communications.
When a vote is being taken, it is out of order for a member to add any comment to one's vote. Debate is ended before a vote is taken, either by a vote to end debate, or by a lack of response to the chair's inquiry, "Is there any further debate?" The only proper response is voting is "Yea" or "No", or in a roll call vote, also "Pass" or "Abstain". Since the purpose of debate is to sway votes, it is not productive to debate when some have already voted. (RONR 45:7)
Unanimous Consent is a simplified voting procedure in which only the negative vote is taken. If there is no negative vote, the motion is adopted. The chair can say, "Is there any objection to the adoption of the motion by unanimous consent" or "If there is no objection, we will take a ten minute recess", or "Without objection, the member's abstention because of a conflict of interest will be entered in the minutes." If one member objects to unanimous consent, a vote is taken in the normal way. Unanimous consent does not mean that all members are in agreement, as in a unanimous vote; it only means that those who oppose the action choose not to make an issue of it at the time. (RONR 4:58-60) (See also Role of the Board President)
A Consent Agenda (called Consent Calendar in RONR) is simply a method of adopting a series of usually routine or non-controversial motions with a single vote. While under RONR it is debatable and any one member can have an item removed from the consent agenda for separate consideration and vote, the SK Board has a superseding policy rule that the consent agenda is not debatable and the request of two members is required to remove an item from the consent agenda. The term consent in this use only refers to the consent to have the motions considered together and should not be confused with unanimous consent or unanimity. A consent agenda is adopted by a majority vote and an unanimous vote is not required. (RONR 41:32)
Minutes are intended to be a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said. Board minutes do not normally include what was said in debate, only topics. If it is desired to have specific additional information entered in the minutes, that is done by a majority vote of the Board and not at the demand of one member. (See RONR 48:2-3.) (See also meeting of May 4, 2022.)
To abstain is to not vote. While members have a general duty to vote (particularly if they are representing a constituency), they have a right to abstain and cannot be compelled to vote.
Abstentions are not called for in voting, nor are they included in any count of votes, except in a roll call vote. A member need not announce that they are abstaining except in a roll call vote, in which case the abstention is entered in the minutes. If a member chooses to recuse themself and not vote because of a conflict of interest, it would be appropriate for that member to request that their abstention be recorded in the minutes. (RONR 45:3-4)
Copyright © 2021, 2022 John R. Berg - All Rights Reserved.