Level up democracy &
strengthen youth leadership
with the sociocratic election of class representatives
Get an idea about the open election guide and how to create a more open and inclusive teaching enviroment with the sociocratic election in our classroom.
Introduction to the sociocratic election
A sociocratic election is not a vote — it requires more attention and consideration than just filling out a ballot.
Sociocracy is best described as "ruling together". In the sociocratic election the majority does not decide. For all those involved, determining sociocratically who could be class representative means to think, to weigh and to argue deliberately over several stages, until the suitable person is found. If all students are ready to engage in the procedures and steps associated with this process, they will be rewarded with several important insights.
Respectful & inclusive communication
Development of leadership skills
Tolerance & appreciation for diversity
Flexibility & Ability to change opinions
“In hierarchical systems - such as the school system - it is of particular importance to promote the democratisation of decision-making processes. People implement and accept decisions better that they have helped to shape themselves. The degree of identification with the jointly achieved goals increases. It's time to free our schools from top-down governance and make them places of democratic decision-making."
Former headmaster, Tobias Albrecht
Middleschool Schendlingen, AT
Sociocratic decisions are not made by majority vote, but by the "no objection principle" (also "consent principle"). This means that all participants are heard equally and included in the decisions. In contrast to democratic ones, nobody can be overruled in sociocratic elections.
Essentially, it is an open nomination; decisions are only valid if no one has an objection in the context of a previously agreed-upon goal. The goal is to find a person who is the most suitable to the agreed-upon role description.
All voices are heard. The mutual feedback and the sense of responsibility of each individual involved play a central role. Sociocratic elections are therefore characterized by a high degree of acceptance and sustainability.
Experience shows that it is particularly suitable for small and medium-sized groups, where the trust between the chosen individuals and the respective group plays an important role or where it is important to find the most capable person for a particular role.
If you only have a short time frame of 2 hours then we do not recommend to perform the whole process but spend the available time on the preparation and defining the role description sociocratically and then proceed with the secret ballot voting.
It doesn't matter how well the students know each other, they still need to elect a class representative. However, you can start in a new class with the preparation phase and the collectively created role description and go from there to the secret ballot vote. However, secret ballot voting mostly comes with election campaigns in which only the loud and extroverted students are participating. The open election process builds on the strength that these students can still nominate themselves. In this process their nominations are equal to nominations of others. We often underestimate how much we perceive the qualities and skills of people even in a short time frame.
Using the example of a class representative election, you will find detailed instructions in this document.
About the project and the authors
The open election of class representatives online learning path was created by Lisa Praeg by the Büro of Kollaborationskultur and partners. It is supported and funded by the European Union and runs under the Agreement Number: 2022-2-AT01-KA210-VET-000096210 and Project name "Strengthen youth leadership – Sociocratic open election of class representatives".
The content of this website is based on the handbook "We nominate!", which was financed and created during the Wirkstätten der Utopie and published for the first time by the association Tage der Utopie in Austria. Lisa Praeg is the person behind the idea. The experiences of practicing and teaching sociocratic open elections in schools since 2017 have been integrated into this online course. The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness of the diversity of decision-making methods and to disseminate specific methods for practicing collaboration in schools.