8 Steps To A Main Motion
The basic building block of Parliamentary Procedure is the Main Motion. The following description will provide you with the basics for making and handling main motions.
1. MEMBER SEEKS RECOGNITION BY THE CHAIR
In a large auditorium, members should stand to be recognized. In smaller assemblies, members may remain seated but raise their hands while addressing the Chair as "Mr. Chairman" or "Madame President" or another appropriate title for the presiding officer.
2. A MEMBER IS RECOGNIZED BY THE CHAIR
Until the Chair actually calls the member by name, the member does not "have the floor" or the right to speak. The Chair must ensure that only one member has the floor at a time, and that only voting members are recognized for the introduction of motions or debate.
3. THE MEMBER STATES THE MOTION
The proper form is, "I move that..." rather than, "I'd like to make a motion...". The motion should be stated in a positive form, rather than a proposal not to take a certain action. It is important that no preliminary discussion take place before stating the motion; this constitutes debate which is not in order before the following two steps have been taken.
4. ANOTHER MEMBER SECONDS THE MOTION
By seconding a motion, another member indicates a willingness to discuss the subject, perhaps for an opportunity to go on record opposing it. A second, therefor, does not imply agreement with the motion, but does indicate support for debate of this motion. Without a second, the Chair should state that this motion is lost for lack of a second, and no further discussion of it is in order.
5. THE CHAIR STATES THE MOTION
The Chair announces, "It has been moved and seconded that..." and then describes exactly upon what the assembly will be asked to vote. Only after the motion has been stated by the Chair is any discussion in order. It then becomes the "property" of the assembly which has the ultimate authority to deal with it as it sees fit, even if it results in an action opposite to that which its maker intended.
6. MEMBERS DISCUSS/DEBATE THE MOTION
The Chair should first call upon the maker to give the reasons for introducing this subject and give presumably the most persuasive speech in favor of its adoption. Next, an opposing argument should be entertained, and remaining debate should then alternate between those in favor and those opposed. No member should be recognized and permitted to speak twice before any other member who wishes to has yet to speak for the first time on this subject.
7. THE CHAIR TAKES THE VOTE
When the assembly appears to have debated to its satisfaction and is ready to vote, the Chair should clearly restate exactly what is being voted upon, then announce, "All those in favor, say AYE," then "All those opposed, say NO". If the Chair is in doubt regarding the results of the voice vote, another vote should be taken immediately by raising of hands, or by members standing to signify being in favor or opposed to the motion being voted upon.
8. THE CHAIR EXPLAINS THE RESULTS OF THE VOTE
The Chair would state, for instance, "The ayes have it, and the motion is adopted" or "The noes' have it, and the motion is lost." The Chair should then explain the specific impact of this vote to the assembly, particularly what needs to be done, if anything, as a result of their vote.
Courtesy of Gregory M. Pribyl, DTM and former Parliamentarian.