When to use Division of the Assembly

"I'm not sure I heard that clearly."

Have you ever participated in a meeting where the Chair announced the result of a voice vote and you questioned if you heard the same result? Any member can formally request a vote be retaken by a show of hands by requesting from their seat a “Division of the Assembly.” Upon this request, the chair should immediately retake the vote using a rising vote.

According to “Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised 11th Edition”

A motion for Division of the Assembly

  • Can interrupt a speaker who has the floor
  • Doesn’t need to be seconded
  • Isn’t debatable
  • Can’t be amended
  • Requires no vote to be taken
  • Can’t be reconsidered

C. Alan Jennings, PRP explains that if a member demands a Division of the Assembly, the presiding officer should state: “Those in favor of . . . will rise. [pause] Be seated. Those opposed will rise. [pause] Be seated.” The chair then declares the result based on the rising vote.

If a member is still in doubt after the rising vote, they may move for a counted vote. But this motion requires a second and an affirmative vote of the membership to order the vote be counted. However, if the chair remains in doubt about the result of a rising vote, he may proceed to order a counted vote on his own initiative.

Michigan State University Extension Educators can provide your organization with assistance in learning more about parliamentary procedure. The Government and Public Policy team also offers training for elected and appointed officials for improved effectiveness in several areas, including various public policy issues and effects of government programs, regulation, incentives, strategies and more. By working together with local elected and appointed officials, and interested citizens, MSU Extension is able to provide education on critical local and state issues. 

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