Let us not be fooled: it is not because we vote - every four years or every five - we live in a democracy. In fact, this perception is to generalize and explain the high (and increasing) levels of abstention that today are recorded in almost all over the globe.
The vote is not democracy at all ... especially when it is so conditioned in time, impact and effectiveness as in the current model of representative democracy. But a model of participatory democracy voting is really the basis of democracy: frequent, influential and informed. Building on that consensus-building - says the "conventional wisdom" - are utopian or impossible to achieve in large groups. But not just that: Consensual Democracy (one of the aspects of Participatory Democracy) is possible, provided that certain methods and procedures followed. One such method is to present the subject to a vote and soon after, requires an indicative vote, even before the moment of debate in order to identify how many people line up for and against. From here it is possible to target the meeting and discuss these two groups from two positions and not a multitude of individual positions, as typically occurs in a debate. The two groups choose among themselves a representative who can hit after another with a common position between both consensual and that after the final vote is taken.
On the issue of decision-making in meetings of participatory democracy is particularly interesting to follow the example of the Occupy movement in the U.S.: in this group, the methods are implemented Consensual Democracy from proposals that are outlined by individual groups of activists Occupy and then agreed Higher counties where these local groups are federated. From this level of decision option shall be followed throughout the movement.
It should be borne in mind that we are all conditioned to believe that these methods are "utopian" and "unrealistic". That's right we were papagueado to exhaustion by very organized and well-funded agents partidocracia and tell us that all forms of Direct Democracy is slow, inefficient and chaotic. But these examples prove that the system works and nothing prevents be adopted on a larger scale and in greater depth.