100 FAQs about Parliamentary Procedure

Since today’s post is… [drumroll!…] the 100th post of The Law of Order blog!—it felt fitting to offer you a fun flyover view of 100 common parliamentary procedure questions we hear often at Civility. All are answered in more detail right here on the blog. Click any answer to any question to learn more on that topic.

Parliamentary Procedure

  1. What is parliamentary procedure? The rules that govern the process of doing business in a group.
  2. Where are parliamentary procedure rules found? In a book called a “parliamentary authority.”
  3. Is parliamentary procedure even relevant anymore? Yes.
  4. Does the law ever reference parliamentary procedure? Yes.
  5. Should bylaws be easy to change? No.
  6. Should bylaws include as much detail as possible? No.
  7. Is there a way to set a rule aside temporarily and move forward without it? Yes.

Robert’s Rules of Order

  1. Does Robert’s Rules of Order trump the law or a group’s bylaws? No.
  2. Is Robert’s Rules of Order the only parliamentary authority that exists? No.
  3. Is there any parliamentary procedure manual that is easier to digest than Robert’s Rules? Yes.
  4. Is a group allowed to disagree with Robert’s Rules of Order? Yes.
  5. Can an organization adopt rules that contradict Robert’s Rules of Order? Yes.
  6. Can an organization follow its customary rules instead of Robert’s Rules of Order?

Meetings + Agendas

  1. Does a special meeting require advance notice? Yes.
  2. Does the standard order of business in Robert’s Rules of Order always have to be followed? No.
  3. Are consent agendas allowed for non-governmental groups? Yes.
  4. Do consent agendas save time? Likely, yes.
  5. Should a committee always give a verbal report? No.
  6. Is there a way to limit the amount of time that each member debates a motion? Yes.
  7. Is there a way to continue a meeting at a later date? Yes.
  8. Should the Chair alternate between those in favor and those opposed to a motion during discussion? Yes.


  1. Is a larger quorum better than a smaller one? No.
  2. Can a group still meet if a quorum isn’t present? Yes.
  3. Are actions taken without a quorum valid? No.
  4. Is there a way to make actions taken without a quorum valid? Yes.
  5. If you lose a quorum in the middle of a meeting, does the meeting have to end immediately? No.
  6. Can a different, higher quorum be set for a particular action? Yes.

Motions + Seconds

  1. Can any motion be made at any time? No.
  2. Can a group discuss a topic without a main motion? Yes.
  3. How do you make a motion? Say, “I move that….”
  4. Does every motion need a second? Generally, yes.
  5. Should you second a motion only if you agree with it? No.
  6. Does a motion coming from a committee need a second? No.
  7. Is there a way to change the wording of a motion? Yes.
  8. Do amendments to a motion require a vote? Yes.
  9. Does a friendly amendment need a second? Likely, yes.
  10. What should happen after a main motion is made and seconded? The Chair should ask if anyone wants to discuss it.
  11. Are motions required in a small group? Yes.
  12. Are seconds required in a small group? No.
  13. When is the right time to make a specific motion? Check the order of precedence.
  14. Is a motion to table always in order? No.
  15. Does a motion to table kill a main motion? No.
  16. Does a motion to table require a two-thirds vote? No.
  17. What motion should a member use to kill a main motion? The motion to Postpone Indefinitely.
  18. Can the Chair debate a motion? Likely, no.


  1. Does the group need to take a vote on a friendly amendment? Likely, yes.
  2. Is a vote to close debate also a vote on the main motion? No.
  3. Does a motion to close debate require a two-thirds vote? Yes.
  4. Can a member interrupt another speaker to make a motion to close debate? No.
  5. Should the Chair ask who is abstaining when he takes a vote? No.
  6. Should abstentions be counted as votes “cast” when calculating a majority? No.
  7. Do abstentions ever affect the result of a vote? Yes.
  8. If you think a vote count is incorrect, can you do anything about it? Yes.
  9. Can the Chair of a meeting vote? Usually, no.
  10. Can a member change his vote after casting it? Sometimes, yes.
  11. Does a raised hand or standing vote always need to be counted? No.
  12. Is a unanimous consent vote actually a vote? Yes.
  13. Is unanimous consent the same as general consent? Yes.
  14. In an election, can an individual who receives the lowest number of votes on the first ballot be automatically removed from the second ballot? No.
  15. Is a vote of no confidence a vote to remove a person from an office? No.
  16. Is a tie vote a winning vote? No.
  17. Is a member entitled to cast a secret ballot? No.
  18. Should the Chair ask for those opposed to a motion even if he knows it passed? Yes.
  19. Can a member ask for a recount of a ballot vote? Yes.
  20. Can a candidate oversee the counting of election ballots? Yes.
  21. How do you calculate a two-thirds vote? Determine the number present and voting, multiply by 2, divide by 3.
  22. Is the number of people present important for calculating a majority vote? Usually, no.

Nominations + Elections

  1. If there’s only one candidate running for a position, do you have to use ballots for the election? Likely, no.
  2. Do nominations need a second? No.
  3. Are nominations from the floor always permitted? No.
  4. Can a member of the nominating committee also be a candidate for a position? Yes.
  5. Does a nominating committee need to nominate more than one person for each position? No.
  6. Can a person run for more than one office at the same time? Yes.

Executive Session

  1. Do you need a motion to enter executive session? Yes.
  2. Can someone who isn’t a member attend executive session? Likely, no.
  3. Do you need to take minutes in executive session? Yes.
  4. Are actions taken in executive session a secret? Generally, yes. 


  1. Should the minutes include a summary of what each member said during debate? No.
  2. Should the minutes include points of order? Yes.
  3. Can any member review the Board’s meeting minutes? No.
  4. Can a member view the organization’s minutes whenever he wants? No.
  5. Should minutes be a transcript of the meeting? No.
  6. Should the minutes say who seconded each motion? No.
  7. Should the minutes include the motions that failed? Yes.
  8. Can any member demand that his comments be included in the minutes? No.
  9. Do the minutes have to be read aloud before they are approved? No.
  10. Does a correction to the minutes require a vote? Yes.
  11. Does approval of the minutes require a vote? Yes.
  12. Is there a legal reason to take minutes? Yes.

Point of Order

  1. Can a group debate a point of order? No.
  2. Does a point of order require a second? No.
  3. Does a point of order require a vote? No.
  4. Can a member disagree with the Chair’s ruling? Yes.
  5. Is an appeal of the Chair’s ruling debatable? Yes.
  6. Does an appeal of the Chair’s ruling require a vote? Yes. 

Point of Information

  1. Can anyone make a point of information in a meeting? Yes.
  2. Is a point of information a way to tell the group information that you know? No.

Ex-officio Members

  1. Is an ex-officio member counted for purposes of determining a quorum? Likely, yes.
  2. Can an ex-officio member debate? Yes.
  3. Does an ex-officio member get to vote? Yes.

Where to Learn More