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Voting Process for Local


Rules about interrupting, speaking time-limits, and break schedule can be decided on beforehand by simple majority vote or this power can be given to the facilitator by simple majority vote




No discussion portion unless presentation was outlined in meeting agenda or in previous minutes

Discussion will be in separate meeting from decision-making portion.  Proposals initiate decision-making portion.  Proposal-framers should come to a decision-making meeting with proposal(s) already formulated.

During discussion portion, enthusiasm must be gauged and concerns and negative feelings must be brought out and addressed.

Avoid meta-talking


Decision Making:  Basic Proposal

The framer of the proposal reads the proposal out-loud, followed by a few moments of silence.  Then the facilitator asks if everyone clearly understands the proposal.

Next facilitator tests for enthusiasm (e.g., hand signals).  If there is little to no enthusiasm, the group returns to discussion or to another proposal.  The proposal can be reworked and revisited at a later date.  However, if there is enthusiasm, the facilitator asks for new or unheard concerns.  If there are no new concerns, the group moves on to additions.  If there is a new concern voiced, the facilitator asks the group if anyone can address this concern, or if any additions or amendments to the proposal can address them.  Additions or amendments must be accepted by the original framer to move to the next step or else the changes are dropped and addressing the concern continues.  If the same concerns keep arising or concerns cannot be addressed after several of these cycles, the group can vote to revisit the proposal at a later date. 

Keep in mind that specific policies within a proposal can leave decisions in the hands of a sub-group with or without those decisions brought back to the larger group for ratification; and that issues can be teased apart sometimes into separate smaller decisions.

The next step is to ask for further unheard concerns, remaining fears, doubts, or disagreements.  If yes, the group returns to addressing these.  If not, the facilitator asks if there are any reservations, objections, blocks, or stand-asides.  If there are many, the group may want to shelve or revisit the proposal later.  If there are little to none, the facilitator can choose to move to the vote process which starts with the minute/note-taker reading out-loud the final version of the proposal including objections and stand-asides.  If the proposal is passed, the minute/note-taker repeats this action.  During the consensus vote (if using consensus) is when a principled objection can be made (see footnote 5 of guidelines for more information)

Decision Making:  Multiple Proposal Situations


Look for common ground.  Do the proposals preclude one another?  Could they be done together, alternated, mixed, or put into short-term and long-term goal categories?  Would the framers be willing to meet together themselves later to synthesize the proposals?


Use straw (i.e., non-binding) polls to decide which proposal to begin with and to gauge enthusiasm, e.g., thumbs up to signify agreement or approval, thumbs down to signify disagree­ment, thumbs sideways to indicate neutrality or undecided.



Implementing the Decision


After consensus or agreement is reached, this portion can be done in the same meeting as the decision making portion.

The following questions should be answered:

--  who else needs to be informed?

--  who will communicate the decision and how?

--  what action steps need to be taken and who will take them?  By what deadline?

--  how will the group know the commitments have been kept?