Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021 the Deschutes Democrats conducted a STAR election for our local Special District election endorsements. It worked, it was secure, it was fully auditable, it was confidential, it was easy, and it was awesome.

These endorsement races are seen as really important because the candidate that wins the endorsement is highly likely to win in May, and we even had some "exciting" political drama around the whole thing over the last couple weeks. There were endorsement races that were uncontested for the endorsement but will be contested in May, so we do a yes/no floor vote on whether or not to endorse, for all endorsements, via Zoom poll. Contested races were conducted via ballot using STAR.

This time, the only contested races we had were with only 2 candidates, so functionally the outcome of the runoff round was the sole decider. So what's the point of doing STAR in a 2-candidate election? The score results will provide useful information for candidates so that even those candidates who didn't win the endorsement know whether or not they have general approval and support from the PCPs for future elections. And of course there was always the potential that a 3rd candidate could enter at the last minute (or even nominated from the floor) to seek endorsement.

It was all done with Google Forms, Google Sheets, and VAN, along with to verify tabulation consistency with the spreadsheet and to generate useful visuals.

-Deren Ash, Deschutes County Democratic Precinct Committee Person