Can we allow voting by proxy?
December 29, 2015 - Author: Bethany Prykucki, Bethany Prykucki, Michigan State University Extension
Many questions about parliamentary procedure are directed to Michigan State University Extension. Individuals who answer those questions often subscribe to professional organization resources to keep their skills intact. One example is The National Association of Parliamentarians (NAP). The National Parliamentarian is NAP’s official journal. Published quarterly, each issue of the NP provides readers with insightful, current information on parliamentary procedure and how it is applied to a variety of situations. Subscriptions are included in NAP membership. An annual subscription to the National Parliamentarian may also be purchased online, or by contacting NAP by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (888) 627-2929.
A discussion in Volume 75 No. 4 Fourth Quarter 2014 issue of The National Parliamentarian page 14-15 highlights voting by proxy. It explains that if voting by proxy is not authorized in the bylaws or a higher governing document, vote by proxy is not allowed. If proxy voting is authorized, the rules that govern the organization must be followed. Proxies don’t count toward a quorum; any deviation from that must be spelled out in the bylaws or a higher governing document. RONR (11th ed.), p. 428 l. 34-p. 429, l. 2 says that “Ordinarily, it should neither be allowed nor required, because proxy voting is incompatible with the essential characteristics of a deliberative assembly in which membership is individual, personal, and nontransferable.” However, keep in mind that “from a parliamentary standpoint, procedural rules contained in state law supersede the rules adopted by the organization, including the organization’s parliamentary authority, such as Robert’s Rules of Order.”
The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team offers education for elected and appointed officials to improve effectiveness in dealing with various public policy issues, and considering the effects of government programs including regulation, incentives, implementation strategies and more. By working together with government officials and interested citizens, MSU Extension offers education on important local and state issues. The Michigan State University Extension Government and Public Policy team also offers professional training in parliamentary procedure. To contact an expert in your area, visit MSU Extension’s expert search system or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).