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Decision Process - Step By Step

Common Good recommends Common Good Communities follow a decision process that includes the following steps:

  1. An Issue Comes Up. The members or Trustees of a Common Good Community propose an issue for discussion and decision. Typical issues might include:

    • Choosing the next Trustees
    • What will be the community's investment priorities in the coming year
    • How to make grants of Common Good Credits to advance the common good locally and elsewhere

  2. Discussion. Members meet to discuss the issue and generate options. Internet discussions may be used as well as in-person discussions (but not instead of them). If the issue requires more discussion, the Trustees schedule additional discussion sessions.

  3. Choose What Options to Consider. Members narrow the discussion to a handful of options.

  4. Formulate the Question. The Trustees formulate a written question and written options to be voted on, along with a brief explanation of each option.

  5. Schedule a Vote. The Trustees schedule and announce a period for voting. Typically voting will begin on a Monday and continue for seven days.


  1. Voting. Members vote online or in person at a designated community center. Whether voting directly or by proxy, the member can change his or her vote anytime before the voting closes. For budget-type issues, such as how to disburse the profits or setting investment priorities, members use a penny vote. All other issues are multiple choice.

  2. Results. The results are automatically announced online. Partial results are NOT disclosed while the voting is open, because that can lead to dishonest "strategic" votes and "follow-the-leader" votes -- both of which detract from the wisdom of the crowd.

  3. Objections. Voters are encouraged to use their veto to express moral or ethical objections to a particular option. They must give a reason for any veto. Each veto reduces the overall weight of the voter's ballot in proportion to the number of options. For example, if there are seven options, each veto reduces the voter's say by one-seventh.

    If any winning option was "vetoed" by 5% or more of the voters, the Trustees invite those voters to voice their objections further, and may schedule additional discussions before a revote. Meanwhile, in multiple-choice votes, the winning option stands. On budget-type issues, the vetoed item gets a zero budget.

Each Common Good Community is responsible for adapting these steps to its own situation and preferences, maintaining strict adherence only to the principles of community-centered economic democracy.