What is a Simple Majority Vote? (Overview, Definition, and Examples)

  • By: Adam Wire
  • March 19, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to decision-making, executive boards frequently use a simple majority vote  to pass resolutions, elect officials, and drive collective action. A majority vote embodies the essence of collective choice, reflecting the will of the majority while ensuring a fair and efficient decision-making process.

No matter if you’re a new board member or veteran looking to refine your skills, read on to learn all about the simple majority vote. We’ll also cover how board management software helps executive boards streamline their voting procedures.

What is a Simple Majority Vote?

A simple majority vote is a voting system where the “winning” option is awarded by a majority vote. For example, if the total votes cast amounts to 100, 51 votes would constitute a majority. This voting system is common among government bodies, corporate boards, nonprofit organizations, professional associations, and more.

In other words, receiving “half plus one” votes determines the winner.

Beyond Simple: The Rules of Simple Majority

In any board meeting, it’s possible for some voters to abstain while others may not be present. A simple majority only considers the total voting members present. With simple majority voting, if a decision receives more than half of the total possible votes, it reaches a quorum and is approved.

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How to Conduct a Simple Majority Vote

If you serve on an executive board, knowing how to conduct a simple majority vote proves critical. From this foundation, you can learn procedures for more complex votes, such as absolute majority, plurality, or supermajority, depending on your operating agreement and bylaws.

To take a simple majority vote, you’ll need to define the issue, scope, and count to ensure the full board accepts the results.

1. Define the Voting Issue

Start by outlining the issue the board will vote on. It can involve reintroducing an issue that was discussed in a previous meeting, or an entirely new topic. There are many issues that require a vote from the board, such as a vote of no confidence.

2. Establish Voting Eligibility

To achieve a simple majority, you must define the total number of people who will vote. An issue can be passed by majority vote if more than half of the participants vote in its favor. To reach this number, you must establish voting eligibility.

In some instances, voting by some members may be limited due to involvement on a related committee or other conflict of interest. After establishing eligibility, you can determine the total number of votes needed to define the majority.

3. Hold the Vote

The voting process will depend on the bylaws established by the board. Typically, the chair will address each eligible voter at the table and ask for a vote of “Yes” or “No.” Beyond voice votes, some boards use paper voting, tokens, digital apps, or board management software to tally a majority vote.  

4. Count the Vote

The board chair will then count the votes. 

5. Announce the Results

If the decision receives over 50% (half plus one) votes, the board will announce the votes and pass the resolution. If abstentions or a tie prevent the measure from receiving the majority, the result becomes moot and a future vote may need to be held.

OnBoard Improves Board Voting

What do the most effective boards have in common? Most utilize board management software to streamline the board voting process. OnBoard makes it simple and easy to conduct and manage board voting. 

The software’s voting and resolutions feature seamlessly enables board members to vote on agenda items, while recording each vote and automatically tallying the results. For a fast, convenient, and modern way to handle boardroom voting and simple majority calculations, look no further than OnBoard.

If you’re considering a board management solution for your organization, we recommend downloading our free guide: Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide. Inside, we give you all the tools and resources needed to find the very best board portal.

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About The Author

Adam Wire
Adam Wire
Adam Wire is a Content Marketing Manager at OnBoard who joined the company in 2021. A Ball State University graduate, Adam worked in various content marketing roles at Angi, USA Football, and Adult & Child Health following a 12-year career in newspapers. His favorite part of the job is problem-solving and helping teammates achieve their goals. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. He’s an avid sports fan and foodie who also enjoys lawn and yard work and running.