Can We Go Home Now? (Adjourn)

Is your meeting running overtime for some reason? Have you become aware of an impending severe thunderstorm and you're concerned about the safety of members who have to drive home in it? Or maybe the power suddenly goes out. This might be a good time to adjourn.

The Motion to Adjourn

The procedure to make the motion is the same as it is with the motion to recess. You shouldn't interrupt another speaker unless there is an urgent need to do so (such as the power suddenly going out). Again, gain the attention of the chair and say, “I move that we adjourn as the hour is late.”

The motion must be seconded, but unlike the motion to recess, the motion to adjourn cannot be debated or amended. An important point must be stressed here: You need to know whether the rules for your group or organization allow for another meeting if you need to adjourn before the business is finished. If so, then you can make a motion to adjourn while there is business pending. Remember, the motion must be seconded and a majority vote is required. The motion can't be reconsidered, but if it's not approved, it can be made again later in the meeting.

Wait a Minute!

There are times when it's not appropriate to adjourn. One of these times is when a group or organization is in the midst of voting. If a motion to adjourn is made before voting is completed or verified, the chair should explain that this is not correct. The only exception is if a vote has been made by ballot. As long as all the ballots have been collected, the meeting may be adjourned and those in charge of counting the ballots may continue to do their work.


After a vote to adjourn is adopted, members can still make motions to reconsider a vote or reconsider a vote and enter on the minutes if they do so before the chair adjourns the meeting.

If a member has made a motion to adjourn, the chair needs to tie up any loose ends that may exist. If there is business that needs to be taken care of, announcements that need to be made, motions to reconsider the vote on a previous motion or to reconsider the vote and enter on the minutes, the chair should inform the membership of these.

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