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Divide, Exclude, And Annotate


Q: Can I move to divide the question if I only want to adopt part of what the motion says?

A: When a motion relating to a single subject contains several parts, each of which can stand as a proposition if the others are removed, the parts may be separated, considered, and voted on as if they were distinct questions by adopting the motion Division of a Question. The motion to divide must state the manner in which the question is to be divided. A motion cannot be divided unless each part presents a proper question for the assembly to act upon if none of the other parts is adopted, and unless the effect of adopting all of the parts will be exactly the same as adopting the compound main question. Robert’s, pages 261-63.

Q: Is a board required to grant permission to non-board members who demand attendance at board meetings? If so, can their attendance be limited by the board?

A: Non-board members can be excluded at any time from part or all of a meeting of a board, or from all of its meetings. Such exclusion can be effected by a ruling of the chair in cases of disorder, or by the adoption of a rule on the subject, or by an appropriate motion as the need arises. A motion to exclude all non-board members is often referred to as a motion to “go into executive session.” Robert’s, page 625, line 11 & line 19.

Q: How long after a vote is taken can someone raise a point of order contesting the vote?

A: Points of order regarding the conduct of a vote may be raised immediately following the announcement of the voting result until another member has been recognized and has introduced another matter. Robert’s, starting on page 233, line 32.

Q: Can one veterans’ organization adopt a motion ordering another veterans’ organization to take certain action?

A: Veterans’ organizations are usually incorporated, which makes them legal entities of their particular state, and as a matter of parliamentary procedure no corporation can order another corporation to take a certain action. If two corporations intend to work together, it is not a question of parliamentary procedure. They should seek legal counsel.

Q: Can a member have his or her statements recorded in the minutes?

A: In an ordinary society, unless the minutes are to be published, they should contain mainly a record of what was done at the meeting, not what was said by the members. Robert’s, page 451, line 25. For published minutes, “the secretary’s assistant should be a stenographic reporter or recording technician.” Robert’s, page 458, lines 18-36. A more detailed article from the Parliamentary Journal published by the American Institute of Parliamentarians is available at Click on “document.”

Send your questions on parliamentary procedure to Answers are based on Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 10th Edition.

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