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Our voting system is broken, but it doesn't have to stay that way.
STAR Voting is all about the idea that we should be able to vote our conscience, our votes should never be wasted, and our elections should accurately reflect the will of the people.
STAR stands for Score Then Automatic Runoff, and that's exactly how it works:
Voters score candidates from 0 up to 5 stars.
Ballots are counted in two rounds:
- Scoring Round: Add up all the stars from all the ballots. The two highest scoring are finalists.
Automatic Runoff: Your one full vote goes to the finalist you scored higher. The finalist with the most votes wins.
Watch the How Does STAR Voting Work video!
Why STAR Voting?
Voting reform is the keystone. A single cause with the potential to empower us to be more effective on every other issue we care about.
Click here for more information on STAR Voting.
Click here for our featured articles list.
Read the peer review on STAR Voting here.
Click here for our videos page.
How is this different from Ranked Choice Voting?
STAR Voting was invented following the 2014 Equal Vote Conference on voting reform. The goal was to find a proposal that could go further to deliver on the talking points of Ranked Choice while addressing known issues with the older system. It quickly topped the charts in every study that included it.
How does Ranked Choice work?
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and STAR Voting have a lot in common: Both are more expressive and encourage more positive campaigns. With both, only one election is needed in many cases. Both can be used for single winner, multi-winner, or proportional representation elections … that said, there are significant differences:
- RCV allows voters to show their preferences, but doesn't allow a voter to show if their 2nd choice is almost as good as their 1st choice or if they are almost as bad as their last choice. STAR Voting ballots show preference order and level of support.
- RCV has high rates of voter errors that can lead to wasted votes and voided ballots if voters give equal rankings or skip rankings. STAR does not.
- RCV can require many rounds of tabulation to find the winner. STAR only requires two.
- RCV doesn't count all voters rankings and can ignore relevant ballot data. STAR Voting is tallied with addition and all data is counted.
- RCV prevents vote-splitting if there are only two frontrunners, but it struggles in races with more competitive candidates. STAR is highly accurate with any number of candidates.
- In RCV it's not necessarily safe to rank your honest favorite 1st. In STAR you should always give your favorite(s) 5 stars.
- RCV requires centralized tabulation which hurts transparency, causes delays, and erodes trust in our elections. STAR Voting can be tallied locally, just like traditional voting.
- RCV usually has long delays before results are available in competitive races. STAR Voting is always tallied instantly.
- RCV doesn't scale well due to the centralized tabulation requirement, so larger scale elections are increasingly more complex logistically, more expensive to run, and more error prone, as we've seen in recent years. STAR Voting scales well.
- RCV is unconstitutional in many US states for a variety of reasons. It's now been explicitly banned in five states. STAR is naturally constitutional all over the country.
- RCV has been systematically oversold and many of the persuasive common talking points are false. Factual integrity is a top priority for the STAR Voting movement and we will never just tell voters what they want to hear.
- RCV was invented in 1870 and it's inventor warned not to use it for public elections. Modern election science has repeatedly confirmed that it's only marginally more accurate than traditional voting but significantly less accurate than most other options on the table.
Change can be scary. If we are going to put in the work to educate voters and adopt a whole new voting method we owe it to voters to get it right.
Learn more about STAR Voting and Ranked Choice here.
Read the peer review on STAR Voting and RCV here.
Learn more about electoral science and voting reform from the Equal Vote Coalition here.
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