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finds there is not a quorum present, business must be immediately suspended, and if a quorum is not speedily obtained, those present may adjourn.


In announcing that the yeas and nays are ordered to be taken, the President should say ; "The yeas and nays are required by Mr. The Secretary will

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call the names of the members."

When the roll has been gone through, the Secretary should read over first the names of those who have answered in the affirmative, and then the names of those who have answered in the negative, in order that if he has made any mistake, it may be corrected at once, and before the result is declared by the President.

Every member is bound to vote, unless excused, or unless he is immediately and particularly interested in the question at

issue. Any member wishing to be excused from voting, may make a brief verbal statement of his reasons, and the question must then be taken without further debate. This is the usage in Congress.

After the yeas and nays have been ordered to be called, and any one member has answered and voted, all further debate is excluded. It is not allowable for any member to change his vote, after the yeas and nays have been called, unless he avers that he voted in mistake. No member can be permitted to vote after the decision has been announced from the chair.

If any question arises on a point of order, during a division, or while the yeas and nays are being called, for example, as to the right or the duty of a member to vote, the presid ing officer must decide it peremptorily. In a case of this kind there can be no debate.

The name of the President should always be called last.* When the result of the vote is ascertained by the Secretary, the Presi

* In our State Legislature the names of the members are called in alphabetical order, excepting that of the Speaker, which is placed at the tail of the list.

dent will say; "On agreeing to the motion the yeas are so many, (naming the number) -the nays are so many-it is agreed to, or not agreed to," as the case may be.

In the Legislative bodies of most of the New England States, the votes of the members are given by the members holding up their right hands-those in the affirmative vote first, and then those in the negative. This is also the usage in some religious bodies.

In Parliament every member is required to give his vote one way or the other. It is not permitted to any one to withdraw, who is in the house when the question is put, nor is any one to be counted in the division who' was not in when the question was put.


In Societies where an annual or semiannual election for officers is held, it is usual to provide in the by-laws that the old officers shall retain their places, until the new ones are regularly chosen. The proper course of proceeding is for the President to announce,

at the proper time, that the election for officers is the next business in order. Some member will then move that tellers be appointed to conduct the election. When the result is declared by the tellers, the President should repeat the statement, and request the newly elected officers to take their appropriate seats. If re-elected himself, he should make his acknowledgements, and then proceed with the regular business.

In Boards of Managers, at the meeting to organize, it is usual to call some gentleman to the chair, for a temporary organization, whom it is not designed to elect as President.

When tellers are appointed to count the votes, in an election by ballot,* they should, while counting off, read the votes aloud, so that all who desire may hear and count for themselves. In choosing officers, a majority of the whole number of votes is necessary to effect an election.

In all cases where other than members of the House are eligible to office, it is usual in the State Legislature, to make a previous nomination.

* In Congress, blank ballots are rejected, and not taken into the count, in the enumeration of votes.



In our State Legislature, rules for the government of each body are adopted at the commencement of the session. On the day of meeting it is usual to adopt the old rules, for the present, and then to appoint a committee to prepare rules, which committee generally reports in three or four days.

The same course may be pursued, with great propriety, in Executive Boards, or Boards of Managers, chosen annually by the mem bers of a Society, by contributors or subscribers. Or, if the old by-laws are entirely satisfactory, they may be adopted by a vote and the appointment of a committee dispensed with. When the by-laws or rules are before the meeting for its action, a majority is sufficient to make an alteration or amendment, but when they have been formally adopted, and are in operation, it usually requires a vote of two-thirds to effect a change or procure a suspension.

The joint rules of our State Senate and House of Representatives are adopted by a

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