At this week’s Round Table, Jack, Jedd, and Kenisha spoke with Sara Wolk and Ruben Montejano of the Equal Vote Coalition – driving forces behind the exciting STAR Voting system from Oregon that is now starting to spread nationwide. Given our interest in systems of voting that help voices be heard to the greatest extent possible, ensuring elected officials represent us most effectively, and how WE as rising voters can use our power to best effect, we were eager to learn about the STAR voting model— a model that changes the way people think about how they should vote. As Sara noted, voting is the issue that affects all other issues, and the sign of a healthy democracy–or lack thereof. The Equal Vote Coalition researched the history of how we came to vote as we vote and realized that systems that don’t count rankings of candidates aren’t legitimately counting all votes and all voices. Electability has become paramount, which makes split voting and the spoiler effect so problematic and makes voters run a pragmatic calculus that is suboptimal. However, other voting methods like STAR can make electability less salient and put more emphasis on having voters look more closely at candidates and their policy positions. Electoral reform is a puzzle with a lot of pieces that all need to fit together. There are several pieces to make sure voters aren’t at a mathematical disadvantage and to ensure that every voter's vote is equally powerful: strategies that counteract split voting like proportional voting; gerrymandering and electoral college reforms; and eliminating barriers and promoting access to the vote. Sara & Ruben are particularly enthusiastic about STAR Voting, which is a hybrid evolution that is the next generation of voting, akin to a five star rating system in which you can show preferences and level of support for different candidates .This encourages voters to look at all the candidates who might support them, provides for a broader range of expression, AND can ultimately eliminate primary elections which disadvantages voters. Furthermore, implementing it doesn’t require a Constitutional amendment, so we’re not taking on catastrophically difficult things like campaign finance reform. We were excited to learn about it and think you will be too. Thank you for joining us!
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