This is a quick guide on how to use the motion to Postpone Indefinitely.
- What motion should you use to kill a main motion or to allow the group to dispose of the main motion without taking an actual vote on it?
Use the motion to Postpone Indefinitely. Do not use the motion to Table.
- What should you say?
Say this: “I move to postpone the main motion indefinitely.”
- When can you make this motion?
You can make this motion anytime that the following other motions are not on the floor: Amend, Refer to Committee, Postpone to a Specific Time, Limit or Extend Limits on Debate, Previous Question, Lay on the Table, Call for the Orders of the Day, Raise a Question of Privilege, Recess, Adjourn, or Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.
- Can you interrupt another speaker to make this motion?
- Does someone have to say, “Second” after this motion is proposed?
- Can people debate the pros and cons of this motion?
Yes. You can debate the pros and cons of postponing the main motion indefinitely, and you can also debate the pros and cons of the main motion.
- Can this motion be amended?
- How many votes does this motion need to pass?
Majority. More than half of the members present and voting must vote in favor of postponing the motion indefinitely.
- A poorly drafted main motion dealing with a controversial topic is on the floor.
- Member A realizes that the group is not ready to take a position on the topic but does not want the group to go on record as having a negative vote on it just yet.
- Member A seeks recognition by the Chair, and once recognized, says, “I move to postpone the main motion indefinitely.”
- Another member says, “Second.”
- The Chair asks if there is any discussion on the motion to postpone indefinitely or on the merits of the main motion.
- Following discussion, the Chair takes a vote on the motion to postpone indefinitely.
- If at least a majority of the members present and voting vote in the affirmative, then the main motion is postponed indefinitely, and the Chair proceeds to the next item of business on the agenda. If at least a majority of the members present and voting do not vote in the affirmative, then the group continues discussing the main motion.
What the Pros Know
- This motion can be applied only to the main motion.
- Once a main motion has been postponed indefinitely, it cannot be brought up again during the current meeting.
- If a motion is referred to a committee while the motion to postpone indefinitely is pending, then the motion to postpone indefinitely is dropped and the main motion just goes to the committee on its own. The group’s adoption of the motion to refer to a committee is its indication that it thinks the topic should be discussed and not killed.
- The motion to postpone indefinitely can be used as a straw poll of sorts by individuals who oppose a main motion. It allows them to test their voting power in a room before a final vote is taken on a main motion.
Where to Learn More