Remember the hanging chad? That something so slight – a tiny fillip of paper dangling from the back of a punch card ballot – could result in the declaration of a spoiled ballot still rankles a large portion of the American electorate.
One might think that two words on the subject of voting – yea or nay – would be enough, yet Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised devotes more than 6,000 words to the subject. Indeed, Article VIII of Roberts is all about voting, with 4,000 words dedicated to the main theme, another 300 or so words focused on “Votes that are Null and Void even if Unanimous,”
When it comes to numbers, terms such as majority and minority are pretty well understood. Merriam Webster defines majority as “a number or percentage equaling more than half of a total” and minority as “the smaller in number of two groups constituting a whole” and goes on to qualify that by describing it as “a group having less than the number of votes necessary for control.”
Basic knowledge of the parliamentary procedure can fall short in situations where the rules aren’t clear-cut, require special consideration, or just aren’t ingrained in the heads of board or committee members like multiplication tables or the ingredients for a good martini.
Think about the last time you participated in an off-year election for your state or local municipality (let’s hope it was the last time one was held).