Democratic Rules

The Democratic Rules of Order

A Summary

1. Discuss the idea together, informally, before forming a motion.
2. After a motion is stated, let the mover, aided by the members, modify it before voting. But if
more than one member objects, changes require formal amendments.
3. Never allow an amendment to the amendment. The motion can be defeated and stated again if necessary.
4. The Chair must never allow a member to interrupt a speaker or personally criticize or ridicule
another member.
Fairness: Equal rights of members and good order are the underlying principles.
The final authority is the majority of voting members, provided a quorum is present, subject
always to any applicable higher law (a law of the land, a constitution, a bylaw, or an existing
standing rule).
In formal meetings, the Chair guides impartially without taking part in discussion. In informal
meetings, the Chair participates as an equal member.
A motion should be worded affirmatively and must not conflict with any higher law. All motions
require a seconder.
The mover’s privilege allows the mover to reword or withdraw the motion provided there is a
seconder and not more than one member objects.
Amendments can delete, substitute, or add words to a motion on the floor but must not negate it
or change its topic. An amendment can not be amended.
Postpone, refer: A motion can be postponed to an indefinite or a specific future occasion or
referred to a committee for further study.
Rescind, reconsider: A previous decision can be rescinded or reconsidered by the members at
any appropriate time.
Voting: Common voting methods include voting by ballot, standing, show of hands, show of
voting cards and voice. For a motion to pass, a quorum must be present and more than half the
votes cast must be affirmative.
Informal Discussion: A motion to informally discuss some topic, if passed, allows members to
consider an idea without the formality of a motion.
Good order: Members should discuss only one motion at a time. A member must not take more
than a fair share of floor time nor interrupt another member except as allowed with a point of order.
Point of Order: A member who believes that a law or the meeting’s good order is being
breached may rise immediately and say “point of order.” The Chair should allow the member to
explain and, if necessary, should call for a vote for a decision.