Re: Voting rights
From: rphilipdowds (
Date: Wed, 9 Oct 2019 02:50:46 -0700 (PDT)
At the Cornerstone plenary level, we expect that most decisions will be made 
via a consensus process that leads to a unanimity outcome.  For each decision 
proposed, any member can have one or more objections, and unanimity results 
when all objections have been resolved.  This may take a while.

But sometimes unanimity cannot be found or created.  In these cases, maybe the 
proposers abandon their quest.  Or, maybe they call for a super-majority vote.  
In our case, voting is by unit present at the meeting; the affirmation 
threshold is 3/4s of the units participating.  We have 32 units.  If 24 are at 
the meeting, then the Yea vote must equal or exceed 18 units.  By state law, if 
the vote is about spending money on an “improvement”, then that affirmative 
vote of 18+ plus units must also represent at least 75% of deeded percent 
interest.  There is no splitting of unit vote or unit interest.  A household 
must be unified in its Yea, Nay, or Abstain.

For what its worth, plenary voting is pretty rare.  My personal view is that 
the possibility of vote is a significant stimulus for compromise and unity.

At the committee / team / task force / circle level, each group is free to make 
decisions as it chooses.  While there has been some experimentation with 
“regular” membership, in some or many situations the view is that any community 
member who makes it into the room for the meeting is also an empowered member 
of that committee, at least while the meeting is in progress.

Philip Dowds
Cornerstone Cohousing
Cambridge, MA
On Oct 9, 2019, 2:39 AM -0400, S. Kashdan <s_kashdan [at]>, wrote:
> Carol,
> At Jackson Place Cohousing, in urban Seattle, Washington State, all
> residents can vote on all decisions that are brought to community business
> meetings, except those involving finances. Jackson Place Cohousing is
> legally organized as a condominium, so our financial decisions have to be
> made by the votes of homeowners. Each owned unit has one vote. If there are
> two or more owners for one home, they must decide among themselves before
> casting their one vote for the financial decision. This is specified in our
> basic legal documents and follows state law.
> There are some decisions that are not made at community business meetings,
> but left to our various teams, such as our landscape team, our
> operations/facilities maintenance team, our kitchen team, etc. But if anyone
> living here, including a renter, has concerns about any decisions that are
> being made by the teams, those concerns can be brought to a community
> business meeting where they can be discussed and possibly reversed.
> Cohousingly,
> Sylvie
> Sylvie Kashdan
> Community Outreach Liaison
> Jackson Place Cohousing
> 800 Hiawatha Place South
> Seattle, WA 98144
> info [at]
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "CJ Q" <homeschoolvideo [at]>
> To: <cohousing-l [at]>
> Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2019 6:39 PM
> Subject: [C-L]_ Voting rights
> Does anyone know how it originated that each house gets one vote
> especially when it is on an item that might’ve been blocked ? Do most
> communities do one household one vote or are there other ways ?
> I’m just doing some research
> thanks,
> Carol
> Emerson Commons Virginia
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