February 29, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Should Eugene elect officials using STAR voting? You decide in May 2024

3 min read
Voters will have the opportunity in May 2024 to approve STAR voting for future Eugene municipal elections. If voters approve, STAR voting would begin in 2026.

from Sara Wolk and staff reports

STAR voting for Eugene has qualified for the May 2024 ballot. If STAR voting for Eugene elections is approved, elections for city officials would move from May to November, starting in 2026.

STAR voting advocates collected a total of 14,430 signatures in only 100 days. After validation, 10,040 signatures were found to be valid. We needed at least 9,689. The validity rate was about 70%.

We couldn’t be more proud of our team and what we accomplished here today. STAR Voting is a modern voting reform that empowers voters to vote their conscience and truly levels the playing field for more representative elections.

Under the current system, our elections are wildly inaccurate if there are more than two candidates in the race. When we have more options, similar candidates risk splitting the vote and leaving the majority divided and conquered. Voters are forced to hold their nose and vote for the frontrunner on their side who seems electable or risk wasting their vote.

STAR Voting eliminates vote-splitting and opens the door for real competitive elections that can inspire candidates and voters alike.

In this time of unprecedented polarization, STAR Voting’s 0-5 star ballot transcends the yes/no, us-against-them narrative. The incentive is to vote your conscience, show your preferences, and show how much or how little you like the candidates. Whether or not your favorite can win, with STAR Voting your full vote goes to the finalist you prefer.

STAR Voting elects more representative and more consensus oriented candidates, and it gives voters more leverage to hold our elected officials accountable so we can be more effective on every other issue we care about.

The proposed procedure is explained in detail on the Lane County Elections website.

The ballot shall provide each elector the option to score each candidate for an office from zero to five stars, where zero is “worst” and five is “best.” Each voter may score each candidate for an office from zero to five, independently of how the elector scores any of the other candidates for the elected office. An elector may give the same score to multiple candidates in the same race. You can:

  • Give your favorite(s) five stars.
  • Give your last choice(s) zero stars.
  • Score other candidates as desired.
  • Equal scores indicate no preference.
  • Candidates left blank receive zero stars.

For each seat up for election by means of STAR Voting, votes shall be tallied using a two-round process which consists of a scoring round and an automatic runoff round. The scoring round shall calculate the sum total of the scores received by each candidate and determine the two candidates who received the greatest total scores. Those two candidates shall be the finalists and shall advance to the automatic runoff round, where the finalist preferred by more voters wins.

  • A tie in the scoring round shall be determined in favor of the candidate or candidates who were preferred (scored higher) by more voters than any other of the tied candidates, if possible.
  • A tie in the automatic runoff round shall be determined in favor of the candidate with the highest overall score in the scoring round, if possible.
  • If the above methods do not resolve a tie, it may be resolved under rules adopted by the City Council not later than 60 days prior to the date of the election.
  • If a tie is not resolved by any of the above methods, the election shall be declared to be a tie and shall be resolved pursuant to ORS 254.575 or applicable local government law.

Photo courtesy Athena Delene for STAR Voting for Eugene.

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