The application of parliamentary law is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies of any size, with regard for every members opinion, to arrive at the general will on the maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all kinds of internal climate ranging from total harmony to to hardened or impassioned division of opinion.
Roberts Rules Of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition (RONR): Introduction
Available from Amazon.com
The following are extracts of interest from RONR:
A member of an assembly is a person entitled to full participation in its proceedings, that is the right to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote.
Each society decides for itself the meaning of its bylaws... An ambiguity must exist before there is any occasion for interpretion... The intrepretation should be in accordance with the intention of the society at the time the bylaw was adopted, as far as can be determined... where an ambiguity exists, a majority vote is all that is required to decide the question.
Although the presiding officer should give close attention to each speaker's remarks during debate, he cannot interrupt the person who has the floor as long as that person does not violate any of the assemblies rules and no disorder arises. The presiding officer must never interrupt a speaker simply because he knows more about the matter than the speaker does.
The vote on a motion is normally taken by voice unless, under certain conditions, it is taken by a rising or by a show of hands... If a rising vote remains inconclusive, the chair or the assembly can order the vote to be counted.
If it appears... that the vote will be close enough to require a count, the chair should count the vote, or direct the secretary to do so, or (in a large assembly) appoint a convenient number of tellers.
Some organizations like to use a brightly colored cardboard card, approx three inches wide and a foot long, in voting on most or all occasions by raising it when asked to do so by the chair.
In the absence of a quorum, any business transacted (except for the procedural actions noted in the next paragraph) is null and void... Even in the absence a of a quorum, the assembly may fix the time to which to adjourn, adjourn, recess, or take measures to obtain a quorum.
no action of the board can alter or conflict with any decision made by the assembly of the society, and any such action is null and void. Except in matters placed by the bylaws exclusively under control of the board, the society's assembly can give the board instructions which it must carry out, and can rescind or amend any action of the board.
It is a fundamental principle of parliamentary law that the right to vote is limited to the members of an organization who are actually present at the time a vote is taken... Exceptions to this rule must be expressly stated in the bylaws... The votes of those present could be affected by debate, by amendments, and perhaps by the need for repeated balloting, while those absent would be unable to adjust their votes to reflect these factors.
When a special committee is appointed for deliberation or investigation, ... it should represent, as far as possible, all points of view in the organization, so that its opinion will carry maximum weight. When such a committee is properly selected, its recommendations will most often reflect the will of the assembly.
Although the chair has no authority to impose a penalty or to order the offending member removed from the hall, the assembly has that power.
the voting methods described below [voting by ballot] are used only when expressly ordered by the assembly or prescribed by its rules.
Although the presiding officer has the responsibility of enforcing the rules, any member who believes he has noticed a case where the chair is failing to do so can call attention to it by making a Point Of Order; the effect is to require the chair to make a ruling... any two members, by moving and seconding an Appeal... can require him to submit the matter to a vote of the assembly.
Only one question can be considered at a time.
No member who has already had the floor in debate on the immediately pending question is entitled to do it again on the same day for debate on the same question so long as any member who has not spoken on that question claims the floor.
A classic work of wisdom... the rules are simple.
New Jersey Cooperator (a newspaper for condominiums), April 2015
Youtube tutorials on how to run a meeting, about 15 minutes each (click on topic below):
The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure 4th Edition
Original Edition by
Every member has an equal right to propose motions, speak... vote.
Sturgis Code p. 8
Only one motion may be considered at a time.
Sturgis Code p. 7
When voting by mail, the members do not have the opportunity to discuss or listen to debate on proposals or to amend them.
Sturgis Code p. 145
The courts hold that all deliberative groups... must follow general parliamentary law whenever they are meeting to transact business.
In all organizations the rules of procedure must be observed if the actions of the assembly are to be legal.
Sturgis Code p. 4
Voting by voice is the most commonly used method of voting.
Sturgis Code p. 142
A member who has been assigned the floor has a right to the undivided attention of the assembly. It is the duty of the presiding officer to protect the speaker in this right. p. 126
The final decision on an interpretation of the bylaws and rules rests with the membership
Sturgis Code p. 209
A point of order must be raised immediately after the mistake... unless the error involves a violation of the law, the bylaws, or the accuracy of the minutes. Sturgis Code p. 88