Parliamentary Procedure FAQ

What are Robert’s Rules of Order?
Robert’s Rules of Order is a manual of parliamentary procedure most commonly used in United States. Per Article IX of the Society’s Constitution, Robert’s Rules is the parliamentary authority of the Jefferson Society, meaning that these rules govern the Society in all cases in which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Constitution and By-Laws.

What are some common motions?
Call for Orders of the Day: Any regular member may call for orders of the day which requires the Chair to return to the regularly scheduled order of business. In the Society, this typically refers to humorous orders presented by the Secretary. This motion does not need to be seconded and cannot be dissented to. It may be set aside only by a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules. 
Motion for Late Roll Call: This motion brings the Secretary forward to call roll for the late roll of Probationary Members. It requires a second and may be objected to.
Motion to Adjourn: This motion ends the meeting. It requires a second and may be objected to.
Motion for Recess: This motion suspends business for a specified amount of time. It requires a second and may be objected to.
Motion to Extend the Time for Debate: Any member wishing to make a motion to extend the time of a member whose time has expired must state the length of the extension. This motion requires a second and a two-thirds majority.
Motion to Call the Question: This motion ends debate and moves to voting on the topic. It
requires a second and a two-thirds majority.

How does the Society vote on motions?
The Society may vote by voice acclamation, show of hands, secret ballot, or any other method moved by a member of the Society. Ballot voting is required for certain votes, including probationary presentations and elections.

What is quorum?
Quorum is the minimum number of regular members in good standing who must be present for the Society to conduct business. It is set by the By-Laws of the Society as one-fourth of the regular membership in good standing if the total number is 30 or less and one-fifth of the regular membership in good standing if the total number is greater than 30. Some motions require a higher threshold for quorum, including amendments to the Constitution and By-Laws and the acceptance of probationary members into regular membership.

What parliamentary procedures govern probationary critiques and voting on
probationary presentations?

After the initial recommendation by the critic, there may be up to five speakers, alternating
between opposition to and affirmation of the critic’s recommendation. There may be one speaker general to the topic. All speakers except the critic will have five minutes or less. At any point after the critic yields their time, a regular member may call for any of the following motions:
-Motion to Call the Question (if this motion carries, members will vote by ballot)
-Motion for Unanimous Passage (requires unanimous consent; if the motion fails,
members will vote by ballot)
-Motion for Passage with Distinction (passes the presentation with distinction, requires
unanimous consent)
Note that unanimous passage does not count as passage with distinction, and only presentations which pass with distinction may be considered for the appropriate awards are the end of the semester.

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