This is a quick guide on making a point of order.
- What motion should you use if you think the rules of the group are being violated and want to bring the violation to the Chair’s attention to request a ruling and enforcement of the rules?
Use the motion called Point of Order.
- What should you say?
Say this: “Point of order.”
- When can you make this motion?
- If your point of order relates to a motion that is on the floor, you can make this motion anytime that the following other motions are not on the floor: Lay on the Table, Question of Privilege, Call for the Orders of the Day, Recess, Adjourn, and Fix the Time to Which to Adjourn.
- If your point of order does not relate to a motion that is on the floor, you can make it anytime that the following motions are not on the floor: Question of Privilege, Call for the Orders of the Day, Recess, Adjourn, and 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?
No, but the Chair can permit a member to explain his point.
- Can this motion be amended?
- How many votes does this motion need to pass?
No vote is taken for handling this motion. A point of order is typically ruled on by the Chair, who informs the member if her point is or is not well taken. If the Chair is in doubt on how to rule, he can consult with the parliamentarian or put the point of order to the assembly for a decision, in which case a majority vote is required to conclude that the point is well taken.
- The group is considering a main motion that deals with a large real estate purchase, and Member A moves to refer the motion to the Property Committee.
- Member B says, “Second.”
- Member C wishes that the group could consider amending the motion first because she thinks it might have a better chance of being adopted and she would hate to see the adoption of the motion get delayed by its being sent to a committee. Though she doesn’t know if the motion to amend is permissible at this stage of the meeting, she decides to try.
- Member C seeks recognition and then proposes an amendment to the main motion.
- Member B says, “Second.”
- The Chair asks for discussion on the amendment.
- As Member C begins to speak in favor of her amendment, Member D interrupts her and says, “Point of order.”
- The Chair replies, “State your point.”
- Member D says, “The motion to amend is not in order [allowed] right now because it is lower in rank than the motion to refer to committee.”
- The Chair, after consulting with the parliamentarian if necessary, replies, “Your point is well taken. The motion to amend is not in order at this time but would be in order if the motion to refer to committee is defeated.”
What the Pros Know
- A point of order must be raised promptly at the time that a violation occurs.
- Points of order related to the way a vote is conducted must be raised immediately after the announcement of the vote result.
- Members should not raise points of order on minor violations that are purely technical if it is clear that members’ fundamental rights are not being violated.
- There are five types of violations of order that are considered continuing in nature and do not have to be raised immediately. Any of the following issues may be corrected by a point of order at any time:
- Adoption of a main motion that conflicts with the group’s bylaws
- Adoption of a main motion that conflicts with a main motion previously adopted and still in force
- Adoption of a main motion that violates federal, state, or local law
- Adoption of a main motion that violates a fundamental principle of parliamentary procedure
- Adoption of a main motion that violates a rule protecting absentees, the secrecy of a member’s vote, or the basic right of an individual member
- Any reasons given by the Chair for rulings on points of order should be included in the minutes of the organization and serve as persuasive but not binding precedent for future decisions.
Where to Learn More