Yes, STAR Voting can be used with Electoral Fusion. Unlike STAR Voting, Electoral Fusion (often called Fusion Voting) is not a voting method. The two proposals affect different parts of the electoral system so they can be adopted separately or together.
What is Electoral Fusion?
- Electoral Fusion is a system for cross-nomination of candidates that allows a candidate to run under multiple party labels at once.
There are two main types of Electoral Fusion in use in the US today:
- Cross-Nomination: All parties that nominate a candidate will appear under the candidate’s name on the ballot. (Oregon, Vermont, etc.)
- Traditional Fusion: Each candidate is listed on the ballot once for each party that nominated that candidate. (Connecticut, New York, etc.) When voters vote for a candidate who is nominated by multiple parties, they must choose which listing of that candidate they want to vote for, which also determines which party they want their vote to count for.
The case for Electoral Fusion
- Under Choose One Plurality Voting, vote-splitting and the Spoiler Effect are pervasive. As a result, minor parties face significant pressure to not run candidates at all, which further drives two-party domination.
- Electoral Fusion allows third parties to have representation on the ballot without the expense of running their own dedicated candidates. This decreases the total number of candidates running, so it can reduce vote-splitting, wasted votes, and spoiled elections.
- Electoral Fusion helps minor parties get credit for their rightful share of the vote, which is then used to determine each party’s representation on government committees and commissions and even whether the party continues to exist.
- Electoral Fusion can help to prevent third party voters and candidates from being blamed for spoiling elections.
- Electoral Fusion can empower candidates and parties to form broader coalitions across the political spectrum.
How does STAR Voting accomplish the goals of Electoral Fusion?
- STAR Voting eliminates vote-splitting and wasted votes while leveling the playing field for parties, candidates, and voters.
- STAR Voting incentivizes candidates to draw support from across the electorate because it is always worth getting an additional star from a given voter.
- STAR Voting empowers voters to vote their conscience, regardless of a candidate's perceived viability, which reduces the relative influence of money in politics and makes it easier for minor parties to run their own candidates.
- STAR Voting clearly and accurately presents the overall level of public support for each candidate in the results of the scoring round.
Does STAR Voting make traditional Electoral Fusion unnecessary?
- Allowing cross-nomination of candidates under STAR Voting makes sense, but STAR Voting would make traditional Electoral Fusion largely unnecessary by leveling the playing field for minor political parties.
- STAR Voting accomplishes most of the goals of Electoral Fusion without the additional ballot complexity of listing the same candidates multiple times.
- Additional “add ons” for STAR Voting can be implemented if desired to further help demonstrate support for each political party with candidates on the ballot. For example, at the end of the ballot, each party can be listed and voters could select one party they want their vote to count for in that election for the purposes of partisan committee and commission appointments. Another option would be to allow each candidate to choose which party should receive credit for their share of the vote.
How would STAR Voting work with Electoral Fusion if both were implemented in tandem?
- Combining STAR Voting with Electoral Fusion is straightforward and requires no changes to either system in states like Oregon and Vermont where Fusion is just a system for cross-nomination of candidates.
Combining STAR Voting with Electoral Fusion in states like New York or Connecticut that list the same candidates multiple times requires a novel implementation. There are a couple ways this could be done:
- Each candidate would only be listed once. Candidates nominated by multiple parties would have another row below their names allowing voters to choose which party they would prefer their vote for that candidate to be counted for. Candidates could also select a “default” party in advance so that voters who left this section blank would have their vote counted for the default party.
- Each candidate would be listed once per party that nominated them. Instructions would state to only score each candidate once per election.
- Under both proposals, a candidate who received a voter's top score would receive a "vote" for their party for use in determining each party’s earned representation on government committees and commissions.
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