What is a Quorum?
A quick overview of Parliamentary
Presented by Betty L Curry CPSR, CPIA, CPIW, DAE
• Quorum – number of members that must be in attendance to
• 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
– 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
• 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
- 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
• 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
• 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
• New Business - Any member may bring up new
• 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
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.
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
Postage $ 25.00
Total Disbursement $ 125.00
Balance on hand as of January 31, 2011 $1,450.00
A motion is a formal proposal brought by a member.
To present a motion:
• 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
• 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
• You can not yield the floor to someone else to speak. (This is only done in
• 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
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
Can we hold our board meeting by conference call?
You can only hold the board meeting by conference call if your bylaws specifically