This is a quick guide on how to use the motion called Division of a Question.
- What motion should you use if you want to divide a motion—with several distinct parts that can stand alone—into separate questions for a vote by the group?
Use the motion called Division of a Question.
- What should you say?
Say this: “I move to divide the question into the following separate parts: [List the separate parts].”
- When can you make this motion?
You can make this motion anytime that the following other motions are not on the floor: 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?
- Can this motion be amended?
Yes. You can amend it as to how the motion is divided.
- How many votes does this motion need to pass?
Majority. More than half of the members present and voting must vote in favor of the division of the motion.
- Member A makes the following main motion: I move that we sponsor a golf tournament in April in conjunction with the Masters and that we give all funds raised this year through our fundraisers to the local homeless shelter.
- Member B says, “Second.”
- The Chair repeats the motion and asks for discussion.
- Member C seeks recognition and after being recognized says, “I move to divide the question into the following two motions: (1) that we sponsor a golf tournament in April in conjunction with the Masters, and (2) that we give all funds raised this year through our fundraisers to the local homeless shelter.
- Member D says, “Second.”
- The Chair takes a vote on whether to divide the question. He does not ask for discussion on the motion to divide.
- If the motion to divide the question is adopted, the group will consider the first part of the motion, with discussion and a vote, and then will move to discussion and voting on the second part.
- If the motion to divide the question is not adopted, the group will continue considering the motion as one motion.
What the Pros Know
- For a motion to be properly divided, it must consist of several distinct parts that can each stand alone. It is permissible to change the grammar or syntax of the original motion slightly in order to create two separate motions that make sense.
- For a motion to be properly divided, the adoption of each part must have the same result as the motion would have if it were not divided.
- It is best to divide a motion as soon as it is made, but it can be divided at any time prior to the vote, even if Previous Question—i.e., the motion to close debate and vote immediately—has been adopted.
- The motion to divide can be applied either to a main motion or to an amendment.
Where to Learn More