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What is a Quorum?. A quick overview of Parliamentary Procedure Presented by Betty L Curry CPSR, CPIA, CPIW, DAE. Basic Terminology. Quorum – number of members that must be in attendance to conduct business Recess – a short break Motion – a formal proposal presented by a member

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what is a quorum

What is a Quorum?

A quick overview of Parliamentary


Presented by Betty L Curry CPSR, CPIA, CPIW, DAE

basic terminology
Basic Terminology
  • Quorum – number of members that must be in attendance to conduct business
  • Recess – a short break
  • Motion – a formal proposal presented by a member
  • Standing Committees – those that have a continuing existence and function - these are usually defined in your bylaws
  • Special Committees – created for a specific task
Bylaws – Basic rules related to the organization itself
    • Describe the group purpose
    • Spell out qualification and method of selecting members
    • Provide for officers, committees and meetings and defines what constitutes a quorum
    • May set up an executive board or board of directors
  • Standing Rules – Address the administrative details that are not important enough to be put in the bylaws and do not relate to the conducting of business at a meeting.
  • Point of Order – When a member feels the rules are not being followed. The Chair must make a ruling and enforce the rule.
Previous Question – This motion immediately stops debate and any subsidiary motion. It requires a second. No debate is allowed and 2/3 vote is needed to close the debate.
  • Methods of Voting

- Voice Vote – Chair asks for verbal confirmation by “ayes” or “nays”

- Rising Vote – Chair asks those in favor to rise

  • Counted Rising Vote – Chair asks those in favor to rise and remain standing until counted
  • Show of Hands – Chair asks those in favor to raise their hands
Counted Show of Hands – Chair asks those in favor to raise their hand and keep is raised until counted
  • Ballot Vote – Ballots are handed out, collected, counted and then the results are given to the Chair
holding a meeting simplified order of business
Holding a Meeting – Simplified Order of Business
  • Call to order by presiding officer
  • Reading and Approval of Minutes Report- copies should be provided to members present
  • Reports – Treasurer’s Report and other committee reports
  • Unfinished business – (Not old as this allows items to be brought up that have already been discussed and a resolution was achieved.)
  • It is up to the Chair to bring up items left over from previous meeting(s). Each item is done separately, discussed, then it should be made into a motion and voted upon.
New Business - Any member may bring up new business.
  • Adjourning – If all business has be concluded, the chair may adjourn the meeting without a motion. If there is still pending business a motion must be made and carried by the majority.

Minutes should contain mainly what was done at the meeting, not what was said.

First paragraph should contain

  • Kind of meeting
  • Name of Organization
  • Date, time and place of meeting
  • Name of presiding officer
  • How the minutes of the previous meeting were handled (i.e. “as read, as corrected, as published, etc”)
Each subject should be done in a separate paragraph. In the case of all important motions, the name of the mover should be shown and
    • Exact wording of the motion
    • Disposition of the motion including any amendments
    • All points of order whether it was passed or lost
  • The last paragraph should state the time of adjournment
  • The name of the seconder of a motion should not be entered in minutes unless ordered by the group.
  • When a count is ordered or a vote by ballot, the number of votes on each side are entered.
  • Name and subject of guest speaker can be given, but do not summarize the speaker’s remarks.
  • Minutes should be signed by the secretary. “Respectfully submitted” is no longer used.
Treasurer Report

Report is in written form and should show:

  • Ending date of report
  • Balance on hand as of that date
  • Receipts – each listed separately and then a total
  • Disbursements – each listed separately and then a total
  • Balance on hand

No vote is taken on the report. It is filed for audit.

Report of the Treasurer

(Name of Group)

Balance on hand as of January 1, 2011 $1,200.00


Member dues $300.00

Proceeds from Bake Sale $ 75.00

Total Receipts $ 375.00

Total $1,575.00


Postage $ 25.00

Stationery $100.00

Total Disbursement $ 125.00

Balance on hand as of January 31, 2011 $1,450.00

The Motion

Amotion is a formal proposal brought by a member.

To present a motion:

  • Stand
  • Be recognized by the Chair
  • At this point, you have the floor so you state your motion
  • When finished you sit

Presenting a motion

  • “ I move that”

Present your motion in clear concise terms. It is up to the secretary to record the motion in the minutes, so it is recommended that

the motion be presented to the secretary and the meeting chair.

  • After presentation of the motion, the Chair will ask for a second. A verbal second will suffice and the Chair does not need to recognize the person making the second.
  • After the motion and second, the Chair states “It has been moved and seconded…” and repeats the motion exactly as presented. The reason for the reiteration is to be sure all understand the motion and to be sure the motion is in order and clearly worded.
Debate the Motion is the discussion of the question, both pros and cons.
  • Chair can ask the maker of the motion to see if they wish to reiterate the reasons behind the motion.
  • If there is no debate, the Chair asks, “Are you ready for the question or is there any further debate. If none, the Chair states, “The question is on the adoption of the motion” and restates the motion. At this point, the motion will be voted upon.
  • The vote is held. The Chair then announces the results in four points
    • 1. Reports which side has “it”
    • 2. Declares the motion adopted or defeated
    • 3. Indicates the effect of the vote if needed or appropriate
    • 4. Announces the next item of business if applicable

The Debate

  • You may speak twice on any debatable motion on the same day.
  • Each time is usually limited but you can’t save time and apply it to the next speech.
You can not yield the floor to someone else to speak. (This is only done in Congress.)
  • The Chair needs to recognize the speaker.
  • You can not speak while someone else is speaking and you must be recognized by the Chair.
  • Debate should be germane to the topic.
  • The most important rule is that the debate is about the proposal not the person. Terms such as false, liar or lie should never be used in debate.
  • Always address the Chair not the previous speaker.
  • When you wish to close the debate, you must be recognized by the Chair and you state, “I move the previous question”. There must be a second. The Chair must call for a vote at this point and there must be 2/3 approval for moving the previous question. If approved the debate is ended and the Chair calls for a vote on the motion.
Frequently Asked Questions

Is it true the Chair can vote only to break a tie?

No. If the Chair is a member of the group, they have the same rights as all members.

Is it true, that once a quorum is established, it continues to exist no matter how many members leave during the course of the meeting?

No. Each motion will need to have a quorum present.

Must debate on a motion stop immediately as soon as a member calls the question?

It is a misconception that the debate must immediately stop. The member first must be acknowledged by the Chair, call the question and there must be a second and adopted by a 2/3 vote.

How can I get an item on the agenda for a meeting?

Most of our local meetings have a proposed agenda that is not adopted by the group. Therefore any member may bring up a topic for discussion.

Questions continued …

Isn’t it necessary to summarize matters discussed at a meeting in the minutes of that meeting in order for the minutes to be complete?

Not only is it not necessary, but it is improper to do so. Minutes are a record of what was done at a meeting, not a record of what was said.

If minutes of the previous meeting are corrected, are the corrections entered in the minutes of the meeting at which the corrections were made?

If the corrections to the minutes are made at the time those minutes are originally submitted for approval, such corrections are made in the text of the minutes being approved. The minutes of the meeting at which the corrections were made should just state that the minutes were approved “as corrected”. If minutes need to be corrected later, a motion will need to be made to correct the already submitted minutes.

Can we hold our board meeting by conference call?

You can only hold the board meeting by conference call if your bylaws specifically authorize this.