Re: Consensus and Voting
From: Rhys Howitt (
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1997 14:21:02 -0600
Carrie wrote:
>Hi Folks:  We folks at Liberty Village have recently had some discussion
>about the uses of consensus and voting and are interested in hearing about
>how some other communities function.  Basically, what I'm wondering is:
>do you always use consensus, or are there some situations in which you
>resort to voting, and if so, what are the parameters for doing so?  Any
>thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks so much!

Our group works with a majority-vote constitution and a concensus culture.
We think it's always better to spend an extra 10 minutes exploring creative
options to obtain a unanimous agreement.  We have come up with some
excellent decisions in that way.

Sometimes, we agree not to go all the way to consensus because the issue is
not important.  That takes some restraint but seems to work well.

If we couldn't get full consensus, we reserve the right to take a majority
vote.  I can't think of an instance of that happening, although I can
remember somebody accepting the group decision while recording their concern
in the minutes.

I reckon that if we were obliged to use consensus for every decision, it
would be abused.

Sometimes we take a 'straw poll' to see how an issue is progressing.  The
last time we did that it turned out that everybody agreed anyway and we
decided to cease discussion and move straight on!

Rhys Howitt
Crossroads Medieval Village Co-op Ltd
Yass, Australia

(an aspiring ecovillage rather than cohousing, facing similar issues)

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