Fold to five – Voting by hand/finger



Five-Finger Voting is a voting format to agree upon alternatives after they are discussed extensively. A group has to decide in a very short time on a proposal and possible alternatives to solve the issue. The participants debated extensively the proposal and its alternatives in a discussion up-front, e.g. in a Five-to-Fold facilitation. Now, it is time to decide. 

When a group is asked to take a decision, the members try to find a common level of agreement by either democratic voting or consensus-based decision-making.


Use the Jamboard, Whiteboard or similar e-tool

Use – tools like




  1. Facilitator explain the issues, rules. 
  2. Offer your solution.
  3. The proposer reads the proposal out loud. The group pauses for a moment so as not to judge hastily and to appreciate the decision. Then the moderator counts: one, two, three, go.
  4. Vote using the “Five-to-Fold” method. (Hold up zero to five fingers.)

All the messages are thus delivered at the same time and the participants show their degree of agreement with their fingers:

The goal should be to make decisions without veto votes 

  1. If the majority is in favour, then a follow-up check is made: Can the objections of those who have shown one to three fingers not still be integrated?
  2. Recording:
    At this time, the fingers may be recorded for the record, or not, according to desired or established group practice. Fingers may be recorded generically, or attributed to specific individuals.
  3. Checking in With Twos, Ones, And Folds:
    If no one shows folded hands, the facilitator states that the proposal has become a decision, and then always invites those who showed one or two fingers to say a few words about their reservations, if they choose.
    It is useful to record these reservations when a report is being made of the meeting decisions. This honours the unity of the group and often opens doors to addressing these concerns in the ongoing work.
    If someone has folded, the facilitator states that the proposal has not become a decision and invites the person(s) who folded to speak. The facilitator reminds the group that space is open for all participants to take responsibility to work together in the days to come to create a resolution to the situation.
  4. Next Steps / Actions Taken:
    The facilitator opens space for establishing next steps. When a proposal has become a decision, the leader may schedule a follow-up implementation meeting or other steps. If there has been a fold, a follow-up meeting to consider the issue may be scheduled, as desired.




In its short version, Five-to-Fold is the well-known Thumb Voting resp. Five-Finger-Voting. In the long version, Five-to-Fold is an elaborate decision-making facilitation process.


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