Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > 1. How Business Is Conducted in Deliberative Assemblies. > 5. Seconding Motions.

Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.

5. Seconding Motions.

As a general rule, with the exceptions given below, every motion should be seconded. This is to prevent time being consumed in considering a question that only one person favors, and consequently little attention is paid to it in routine motions. Where the chair is certain the motion meets with general favor, and yet members are slow about seconding it, he may proceed without waiting for a second. Yet, any one may make a point of order that the motion has not been seconded, and then the chair is obliged to proceed formally and call for a second. The better way when a motion is not at once seconded, is for the chair to ask, “Is the motion seconded?” In a very large hall the chair should repeat the motion before calling for a second in order that all may hear. After a motion has been made no other motion is in order until the chair has stated the question on this motion, or has declared, after a reasonable opportunity has been given for a second, that the motion has not been seconded, or has ruled it out of order. Except in very small assemblies the chair cannot assume that members know what the motion is and that it has not been seconded, unless he states the facts.   1
  A motion is seconded by a member’s saying, “I second the motion,” or “I second it,” which he does without obtaining the floor, and in small assemblies without rising. In large assemblies, and especially where non-members are scattered throughout the assembly, members should rise, and without waiting for recognition, say, “Mr. Chairman, I second the motion.”   2
  Exceptions. The following do not require a second: 6   3
Question of Privilege, to raise a 19
Questions of Order 21
Objection to the Consideration of a Question 23
Call for Orders of the Day 20
Call for Division of the Question (under certain circumstances)     24
Call for Division of the Assembly (in voting) 25
Call up Motion to Reconsider 36
Filling Blanks 33
Nominations 33
Leave to Withdraw a Motion 27
Inquiries of any kind 27

Note 6.  In Congress motions are not required to be seconded. [back]


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