Re: Fallback Voting Methods- By Household or Member?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2005 11:24:54 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 29, 2005, at 12:03 PM, <normangauss [at]> wrote:

Recently our community had an issue sitting around for a few weeks being debated endlessly. One member was so frustrated about no action being taken on the issue that she offered to facilitate a meeting in which a vote would
be taken without first  asking for consensus.

In your opinion, what would be a reasonable number of attempts to get a proposal passed by consensus after which going for a vote would be the next

Personally, I think the first effort and primary commitment has to be to consensus. Using majority vote creates a minority. That is a very hard thing to do in a community on a major values issue. You want to avoid it if possible.

But it also depends on the issue. One distinction Rob makes is that Expert decisions should not be put up for consensus. You don't reach consensus on how to fix the furnace -- you ask a furnace repair person or a bunch of them. So be sure it is an issue that should be decided by consensus. An outside facilitator may also be very helpful.

I also think too many times we in cohousing believe that all our issues are unique and beyond the help of an expert. No one knows more than we do, no one has ever faced this unique situation before, we don't want anyone else interfering in our community.

Nothing in Cohousing is new. It has all been done before in different combinations and in different places. Going outside for expert information may be the best way to resolve a stalemate.

Another helpful thing is to remember that decisions are not forever. I used to do a lot of career counseling and the question always arises, should I do this or this? The answer that most often worked was "Start with the answer that is most doable at the moment. That will give you more information on which to base your next decision."

Don't be afraid to try something for a few weeks and then see where you are.

In sociocracy, all decisions are made by consent, including the decision to use majority vote.

Sharon Villines
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