Tie Votes

Answers to questions submitted to Cagle's Parliamentary Procedure webpage.

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Tie Vote

In a tie vote which side prevails. The affirmative or negative?

Only one answer here: motions fail in case of a tie. You must have a majority for a motion to pass. That is why in some organizations the chair of a meeting can only vote in the case of a tie or to make a tie--that is, to preserve the general impartiality of the chair, the chair only votes when the vote makes a difference in the outcome.

Deadlock in a School Board

We are in the process of hiring a new supertindent of schools. All issues are agreed to except the time line. Three members will vote at tomorrow night's meeting to have the search complete between April 30-- August 31/96 and 3 will vote to have the search complete between Sept1/96-- March 1/97. Without regard to the merits of either position, my question is this, If a motion is made to have the search completed by March 1 and the vote is tied 3-3, does the motion fail and therefore the search has to be before Sept 1.

A motion needs a majority, so a tie (3-3) means the motion is defeated.

After this motion fails, What if a motion to have the search completed April through August is made after the previous motion has failed and that vote is 3-3?


Are we hopelessly deadlocked until someone switches sides.?

Again, yes, but perhaps not hopelessly. It calls for further discussion. Such situations are difficult. Even if fifty votes are taken, if they're all tied, then you still haven't passed a motion.
You might consult a lawyer regarding your state's laws concerning school boards. Who would have authority to act in the event that the matter took several months to decide? You'd have to appoint an interim superintendent of some sort until the search was completed, but what if that issue was also divided and tied?

In such situations there are no simple answers, unfortunately.

Having the chairman not vote is not an option. Any suggestions you can make will be much appreciated. Thanks.
Member of Franklin Special School District Board of Education, Franklin, Tennessee.

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