The SF Green Party uses the consensus process for making most of our decisions, including endorsements. In the consensus process, we seek the agreement of a supermajority of participants, and also to resolve or mitigate the concerns of the minority in order to achieve the most agreeable decision.
The consensus process starts with a presentation of a proposal by one or more presenters. After the presentation, the meeting facilitators take a "stack" of questions designed to clarify any parts of the proposal or facts concerning it that are not clear. The facilitators alternate between calling on male and female participants ("gender stacking") and may call on people out of turn in order to encourage participants who have not previously spoken.
After the clarifying questions are answered, the facilitators take another stack of concerns and affirmations about the proposal. People with concerns are encouraged to provide "friendly amendments" that will change the proposal to resolve or mitigate their concern; these amendments may be accepted at the option of the presenters. All such actions are noted in the minutes. When all concerns have been heard, the facilitators test for consensus.
If there are no remaining concerns that have not been resolved by friendly amendments, consensus is reached and the proposal passes.
If there are remaining concerns, the presenters may withdraw the proposal, or have the facilitators ask those people with concerns to "stand aside." If all those with concerns agree to stand aside, the proposal still passes by consensus.
A person with a concern about the proposal may not agree to stand aside, especially if they feel that enacting the proposal would not be consistent with our Ten Key Values. This is called a "blocking" concern. If there are blocking concerns about a proposal, consensus is not reached.
In cases where we do not reach consensus, the presenters have the option of attempting to pass the proposal by supermajority vote. Business decisions (i.e., carrying out an existing policy) require a 2/3 threshold, endorsements a 3/4 threshold, and adoption of new policies requires a 4/5 threshold. Details of our voting procedure are given in our bylaws.