AI2ES Voting Mechanism

Voting Mechanism 

While most discussions and decisions are made through consensus, sometimes an issue comes up that requires a more formal vote or is unable to be resolved fully through consensus. Examples of issues that would benefit from a formal vote include:

  • Significant reallocation of budget
  • Selecting an associate director
  • Adding a new named partner
  • Pursuing major funding and/or infrastructural initiatives (e.g., new Center, new Institute) that  involve multiple AI2ES partners and/or leverages AI2ES’s collective intellectual property and/or has fiscal implications for AI2ES
  • Changing the code of conduct,


This list is not meant to be exhaustive. If a member of the institute feels that an issue should be brought up for a formal vote, then they can send a proposal and formal request for a vote to the leadership team. If that request is seconded by at least one member of the leadership team, then a formal vote will be called. In the case of needing a formal vote, the vote will be taken among the team making the decision and the team that is most affected by the decision. For example, changing the code of conduct affects all members of AI2ES and therefore should be voted on by all members. A budget reallocation would be voted on by the PI, co-PI, and senior personnel. 


When a major item is coming up that requires a vote, AI2ES will follow Martha’s Rules (Minahan, 1986) and do the following.

  • Preparation:  Ensure there is at least 24 hours notice provided prior to a minor vote and 48 hours for a major vote so people have time to think about the issue. Exceptions: If there is an emergency need for a vote, the issue can be brought immediately to a vote with leadership, with at least 8 hours for people to review the information and vote.
  • Generate proposals: Once the issue has been identified, proposals should be generated either through writing or discussion (depending on the nature of the meeting or the nature of the issue at hand). 
  • Identify the concrete proposals to be voted on: Once a set of proposals has been brought forward, ensure they are concrete and written down. The written proposals can be in the meetings notes or as formal written documents, as needed.
  • Take a “sense” vote: For each proposal to be considered, the moderator will take a “sense” vote by asking the following questions.
    • Who likes the proposal?
    • Who can live with the proposal?
    • Who is uncomfortable with the proposal?
  • Understanding the votes: After a vote, if a proposal is to move forward, the moderator will ask for a short statement from anyone who voted that they were uncomfortable with it, to identify if a proposal needs to be adjusted.
    • As needed, a proposal can be adjusted with this feedback.
  • Final vote: When a final vote is called for, a traditional vote will be held as described below.


Voting rules

  • To hold a vote, there must be a quorum of members available to vote. This quorum can be reached through online voting, in-person, or video meetings, depending on the team making the decision. 
  • Major decisions require a supermajority to pass.
  • Minor decisions require only a majority.
  • If a runoff is needed, the top two choices will be voted on again.
  • If needed, an anonymous vote can be called for at any time.



  • Quorum:  Quorum is defined by having at least 50% of the team making the vote participating in that vote.
  • Voting member: There are two types of voting members.
    • All members who are active participants (no matter if they are receiving AI2ES funds or not) are eligible to discuss and vote up through the “sense” vote.
    • To vote on something that requires a funding allocation, a voting member must be receiving funds from AI2ES.  
    • Voting members are listed for each team when the team forms and can be adjusted as the team changes
  • An active participant is defined as someone attending at least 75% of the meetings for the team involved in the voting. 
  • Majority: 51% of the votes
  • Supermajority: ⅔ majority of the votes