Forms of Stating and Putting Questions

67. Forms of Stating and Putting Questions. Whenever a motion has been made and seconded, it is the duty of the chairman, if the motion is in order, to state the question so that the assembly may know what question is before them. The seconding of a motion is required to prevent a question being introduced when only one member is in favor of it, and consequently but little attention is paid to it in mere routine motions, or when it is evident that many are in favor of the motion; in such cases the chairman assumes that the motion is seconded.

Often in routine work the chairman puts the question without waiting for even a motion, as few persons like to make such formal motions, and much time would be wasted by waiting for them: (but the chairman can only do this as long as no one objects.) The following motions, however, do not have to be seconded: (a) a call for the orders of the day; (b) a call to order, or the raising of any question of order; and (c) an objection to the consideration of a question.

One of the commonest forms of stating a question is to say that, "It is moved and seconded that," and then give the motion. When an amendment has been voted on, the chairman announces the result, and then says, "The question now recurs on the resolution," or, "on the resolution as amended," as the case may be. So in all cases, as soon as a vote is taken, he should immediately state the question then before the assembly, if there be any. If the motion is debatable or can be amended, the chairman, usually after stating the question, and always before finally putting it, inquires, "Are you ready for the question?" Some of the common forms of stating and putting questions are shown in 46-48. The forms of putting the following questions, are, however, peculiar:

If a motion is made to Strike out certain words, the question is put in this form: "Shall these words stand as a part of the resolution?" so that on a tie vote they are struck out.

If the Previous Question is demanded, it is put thus: "Shall the main question be now put?"

If an Appeal is made from the decision of the Chair, the question is put thus: "Shall the decision of the Chair stand as the judgment of the assembly?" [convention, society, etc.] If the Orders of the Day are called for, the question is put thus: "Will the assembly now proceed to the Orders of the Day?"

When, upon the introduction of a question, some one objects to its consideration, the chairman immediately puts the question thus: "Will the assembly consider it?" or, "Shall the question be considered?" [or discussed.]

If the vote has been ordered to be taken by yeas and nays, the question is put in a form similar to the following: "As many as are in favor of the adoption of these resolutions, will, when their names are called, answer yes [or aye]--those opposed will answer no."

68. Motions requiring a two-thirds vote.* [See Two-thirds Vote, page 159, and 39 of Rules of Order.]

All motions that have the effect to make a variation from the established rules and customs, should require a two-thirds vote for their adoption. Among these established customs should be regarded the right of free debate upon the merits of any measure, before the assembly can be forced to take final action upon it. The following motions would come under this rule:

To amend or suspend the rules.

To make a special order.

To take up a question out of its proper order.

An objection to the consideration of a question.

The Previous Question, or a motion to limit or close debate.