Types of Motions

Reference Number: 

Review the following chart to learn about the different types of motions. Motions that are not debatable are immediately put to a vote.

Motion Second

Debate or

Amendable? Majority or
Two-Thirds Vote?
Main Motion-Present business to the body. Only one main motion can be considered at a time. Yes Yes Yes Majority, except when two-thirds is required by law.
Subsidiary Motions-These motions are not questions before the body by themselves but relate to a main motion (or resolution) that is before the body. They may be made after the main motion and must be dealt with before voting on the main motion to which it relates. Yields to privileged and incidental motions. Listed in order of rank (meaning a motion of higher rank can always be entertained while a lower rank motion is pending, but not vice versa; there can be more than one subsidiary motion at a time - for example, a motion to amend a main motion, or an amendment, may be "tabled").
Table (Is immediately put to a vote; if not taken from the table in the same meeting, the motion is dead; generally used as an attempt to kill a motion.) Yes No No Majority
Previous question call for a vote, close debate (This motion is to cut off debate and force a vote on the issue.) Yes No No Two-thirds (Remember, this is under Robert's Rules; local rules may only require a majority.)
Limit or extend debate (Limit discussion to a certain time.) Yes No No Two-thirds (Remember, this is under Robert's Rules; local rules may only require a majority.)
Postpone to a certain time Yes Yes Yes Majority
Amend a main motion (If adopted, the chairman should restate the main motion, as amended before the vote.) Yes Yes, but debate should be confined to the amendment Yes, but only once (Amendments to a main motion can be amended, but an amendment to an amendment cannot be amended.) Majority
Postpone indefinitely Yes Yes Yes Majority
Incidental Motions-These motions are of no special rank, but yield to privileged motions meaning that if one of these motions is before the body and one of the privileged motions listed below is made, the privileged motion will have to be voted on or withdrawn before the body can proceed to consider these incidental motions. Otherwise, these motions are dealt with as they arise and take precedence over subsidiary motions.
Point of order (A member may interrupt the speaker who has the floor for this motion.); the chair deals with this motion.        
Withdraw a motion No No No Majority (However no vote is taken unless there is an objection to the withdrawal.)
Suspend the rules (To allow the county commission to violate its own rules; the rules should provide the method for "suspending the rules".) Yes No No Two-thirds (Remember, this is under Robert's Rules; local rules may only require a majority.)
Method of voting Yes No Yes Majority
Request for information; the chair deals with this motion.        
Question of quorum; the chair deals with this motion.        
Privileged Motions-These motions take precedence over other motions and are allowed to interrupt the considerations of other business. When privileged motions are not interrupting other business, they are main motions.
Fix time to adjourn Yes No Yes Majority
Adjourn Yes No No Majority
Recess Yes No Yes Majority
Raise question of privilege (To bring up an urgent matter such as noise, discomfort, etc.); the chair deals with this motion.        
Call for orders of the day (Keep the meeting to the order of business or agenda that is adopted); the chair deals with this motion.        
Unclassified Motions-These are main motions that are often used to take up business again. They are not ranked.
Take from table (This is to bring up for consideration a motion or resolution that was tabled previously in the meeting) Yes Yes No Majority
Reconsider (A person on the prevailing side, a person who will change his or her vote, is supposed to make this motion.) Yes Yes No Majority
Rescind Yes Yes Yes Majority (A motion to rescind may require a two-thirds vote if the action required a two-thirds vote for passage.)
Ratify Yes Yes Yes Majority (Private acts and many local option laws require two-thirds vote.)