Sociocracy, also called dynamic governance, is a system of governance which seeks to create harmonious social environments and productive organizations. It is distinguished by the use of consent, rather than majority voting, in decision-making, and of discussion by people who know each other.
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Sociocracy.info describes the Sociocratic election process in the following way:
The circle meets for the purpose of deciding who is the best available person for a job. Election is by the consent of all members present or their consent to using a method other than consent. Alternate methods may include range voting, preference voting, majority vote, etc. The group may also consent to delegating the final decision.
- The election leader reads the job description. The job description defines the aim of the election. As an aim, it establishes the basis for argument and consent. The group may have previously defined the functions and tasks of the person to be elected and consented to the job description, or it may be done in the same meeting. The election leader may have been previously elected, may be the regular leader of the group, or may be elected in the same meeting. This is determined by the size and complexity of the organization and the nature of the election, whether, for example, it is expected to be highly competitive or is a key position.
- Nominations are submitted in writing as simply X nominates X. Circle members may nominate themselves. They may nominate someone who is not a member of the circle or nominate an “outside search” for someone not currently a member of the circle.
- Members give their arguments for the person they nominated. All arguments for one nominee are presented in the same round, asking the additional nominators if they have arguments to add to those of the first person to present. The election leader should monitor whether arguments are based on the job description and the ability of the person to fulfill its requirements and stop the presenter if they are not.
- Nominators change or withdraw nominations. After arguments in favor of nominations are presented, members are given the opportunity to change or withdraw their nominations.
- Open discussion or rounds on the qualifications of nominated members. Depending on the size of the circle, members may do rounds to discuss the candidates or have open discussion facilitated by the election leader. At this time any concerns about or objections to candidates may be addressed by the candidate or other by other members of the circle. When appropriate, the election leader may suggest that one person seems to be the best candidate. The group must consent to this decision.
- Candidates accept or decline. When one candidate has received the consent of all members present, that candidate is asked if they will accept the position. Candidates are not allowed to decline before this point because some candidates migh decline prematurely for fear of standing for election or inappropriately believing themselves to be unqualified. On hearing why their peers have elected them, candidates are more likely to accept.
Candidates may also accept with provisions, such as a modification in the job description, additional financial or personal support, etc. The group must decide to accept these changes by consent. If they do not, another round may be conducted to elect another of the candidates nominated or a new election conducted.
Notes and references
Source: http://www.sociocracy.info/about-sociocracy/the-sociocratic-election-process/ The article gives further interesting information about conditions that make for good or bad election decisions. ↩︎