Robert’s Rules of Order Revised > Subject Index > Page 200
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Henry M. Robert (1837–1923).  Robert’s Rules of Order Revised.  1915.


Page 200

two sides to prepare brief statements to be printed and mailed with the proposed amendment to every member. Instead of having the voter’s signature on the inner envelope, it may be placed on the ballot, but a place for the signature should be indicated, so that there may be some means of protection against votes being cast by other than legal voters. Voting by mail cannot be a secret ballot, as it is necessary for the tellers to know by whom each vote is cast. By some such method as the above it is practicable to give all the members, however scattered they may be, an opportunity to vote on questions of great importance.
Proxy Voting. A proxy is a power of attorney given by one person to another to vote in his stead, and it is also used to designate the person who holds the power of attorney. It is unknown to a strictly deliberative assembly, and is in conflict with the idea of the equality of members, which is a fundamental principle of deliberative assemblies. There can be but little use for debate where one member has more votes than another, possibly more than all the others combined. If the proxy voting is limited to the election of a board of directors, as it is practically in stock corporations, and if, also, the proxies must be given to members of the corporation in all cases where it requires an election to become a member — with these two limitations proxy voting would be useful and do no harm. In stock companies the members meet only annually to elect directors, who elect the officers and transact the business of the corporation. Though the directors are elected largely by proxies, their own meetings, where all the business is done, are as secret as they choose to make them, no proxies being allowed in them, and therefore proxy voting does not interfere with their business. As any one can dispose of his stock to any one else, there is no objection to his appointing any one as his proxy. But the case is very different with many incorporated societies of a social, benevolent, or religious character, whose business meetings are sometimes secret. Their membership cannot be transferred by the members like stock, and therefore they should not be allowed to appoint any proxies who are not members of the organization. The state law is above the by-laws of the society, and if



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