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[802SEC] Do Abstains Count in the Denominator

802 EC,


            These rules discussions are so much fun. :-)


            There seems to be confusion about whether Abstains count in
the denominator when a vote is held.  In other words if someone abstains
did they vote?


            So I thought I would look at Robert's Rules.  Here is a
quote from Robert's Rules on what it means to abstain.


            'To "abstain" means not to vote at all, and a member who
makes no response if "abstentions" are called for abstains just as much
as one who responds to that effect (see also p. 394).'


            Based on Robert's Rules an "abstain" is not considered a
vote and is not counted in the denominator.  


Clearly if we start to count Abstains in the denominator it will not
only change the meaning of a super majority but also of majority.  For
example, a vote of 10 yes, 4 No and 10 abstains would not count as a
majority if we start to include abstains in the denominator.


            Of course there are rules that explicitly set the
denominator as "all members" and it that case the denominator is those
that vote yes, those that vote no those that abstain, those who do not
answer, those who are not in the room, those who did not attend the


            So unless the rule states that the denominator is "all
members" then the denominator is the sum of those who vote yes and those
who vote no.  This is of course my humble opinion.





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