Objection to Consideration of a Question

Uh-oh. Here it comes. You-know-who is going to spoil a perfectly lovely meeting by getting up to propose that motion. You know the one. There's one in every group, it seems. Someone with a pet motion to fund a pet project and it's set to divide the group straight down the middle. You can almost feel members getting ready to pop an antacid.

The objection to consideration of a question is perfect for this situation. Any member can propose it and it doesn't need a second, isn't debatable, and isn't amendable. A vote on it is taken even before any discussion (by that longwinded member — isn't it always a longwinded member who gets these ideas?). Perfect, right?

How It Works

This motion is designed to prevent the consideration — the discussion and acting upon — of a main motion (question). It's like holding up a hand to stop someone from talking. The motion should be used carefully. Used too often, it could become rude and obstructive. But used carefully, sparingly, it might be your best tool for keeping one member or one issue from dividing the group and making a meeting unpleasant or needlessly focused on an issue no one wants to hear about.

Give Me the Tool

To stop the consideration of a question (motion), a member should say, “I object to consideration of the question.” That's it. Couldn't be simpler, right? The chair should immediately take a vote by saying, “The consideration of the question is objected to. Shall the question be considered?” A vote should be taken by the method used by the group, whether it's voice or by standing. If two-thirds of those present don't want to consider the question, then it can't be considered for the rest of the meeting.

Unfortunately, you know you-know-who. He or she will probably be back at another meeting to propose it. Some people never learn. But you and your group or organization will have the motion to object to consideration of a question, and maybe eventually you-know-who will get the message!

ALERT!

Remember, Robert's Rules are concerned with being both democratic and courteous. If you're worried that consideration of a motion will cause division, use democracy and courtesy when you make the motion to prevent consideration or you'll just cause more division!

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