Voting By Consensus
The consensus process will be used during the Annual Membership Meeting (AMM) for making decisions. Consensus is understood as a state of shared commitment within the corporate body. It is not a number, nor is it the same thing as unanimity.
To make decisions in an atmosphere where communications have been sufficiently open, and the group climate has been sufficiently supportive, to make every member feel that he/she has his/her fair chance to influence the decision.
1. Affirmation cards are given to voting members. These cards (red, yellow, blue) designate the position taken by the delegate. The following scale will be used:
Blue card indicates affirmation of the proposal.
Yellow card indicates affirmation with some reservation.
Red card indicates serious difficulty supporting the proposal.
2. The issue or action to be discussed will be presented to the membership. This presentation will include an explanation of the goal(s) of the proposal along with any pertinent information, and the decision or action requested.
3. A time will be set aside for questions to clarify the information presented.
4. A test for consensus will then be conducted. The membership will be asked to show its initial reaction on the proposal by holding up their cards.
5. Results of this test are quickly tabulated and shared with the membership.
6. With the indication of holding up a yellow or red card, those interested in voicing their opinion will be invited to share the reasons for their position with the group. The group will listen to the concerns and address them appropriately. Members will be invited to share their concerns until all different concerns are heard. As part of the minutes, concerns will be recorded. As much as possible, an attempt to monitor the time will be made.
7. The Board Chairperson and the Executive Committee (EC) reserve the right to postpone a vote if it is determined further discussion and development of the proposal is necessary.
8. After the membership has been invited to voice their concerns, the Board Chairperson determines if another test for consensus is needed and either calls for another test for consensus or calls for a final vote for affirmation. If the process is going to be challenged, it must be challenged before the final vote is tabulated. A norm of eighty percent (80%) of the body is used to signify affirmation (total blue and yellow cards). A decision will be clearly identified and announced.
9. The first vice chair will assist the chairperson with this important process. They will work to keep the pulse of the group as decisions are made. An electronic template will be used to assist documenting the process.