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Member's Rights

Members have a right to receive notice of meetings, attend meetings, make and debate motions, vote, and to run for office, except as otherwise provided in the bylaws or special rules (Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised (RONR), 10th ed., p.3, 5, 431, 255).

Wayward members can be disciplined and have their rights suspended temporarily by majority vote, or be expelled by a two-thirds vote, but they have a right to defend themselves against the charges against them (RONR p.628).

Members have the right to speak twice to each motion for 10 minutes each time. This right to debate can be changed only by a two-thirds vote.

Meeting Myths

Myth: Only members have the right to serve as officers.

Fact: "In most societies it is usual to elect the officers from among the members; but in all except secret societies, unless the bylaws or an established practice provide otherwise, it is possible for an organization to choose its officers from outside its membership" (RONR p.431).

Myth 2: Ex officio members do not have the right to vote.

Fact: An ex officio member is an individual whose membership on a board or committee is by virtue of holding a specific office. For example, the treasurer may be an ex officio member of the finance committee, and the local chapter presidents may be ex officio members of the state board. All ex officio members have the right to attend meetings, make motions, debate and vote, just as any other member, except of course as the bylaws otherwise provide. See RONR p.466-467 and 480.

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Ann Guiberson


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