This page addresses the recent attacks about the STAR Voting for Eugene Measure, 20-349.

For FAQ questions about STAR Voting in general see the STAR Eugene FAQ and if you want a deeper dive, check out our full list of STAR Voting FAQs.

 

Responding to the opposition

 

Q: Would STAR Voting disenfranchise voters of color?

  • No. STAR Voting levels the playing field for both voters and candidates.
  • In the current system, the threat of vote splitting empowers establishment candidates and parties to stop prospective candidates from running for office.
  • To get past this gatekeeping and convince voters to vote for them, candidates must be highly electable (i.e. incumbents and rich and famous people) to have any chance of winning. Electable candidates overall tend to be disproportionately white.
  • With STAR Voting, all voters would be empowered to freely and honestly support all the candidates they like without the fear of vote splitting causing their least-liked candidate to win.
  • The turnout in primary elections is often biased in favor of white voters. STAR Voting for Eugene eliminates the expensive, low-turnout primary and places the entire election in November, when turnout is most representative.
  • In STAR Voting, every voter gets exactly one full vote for the finalist they prefer, regardless of how many candidates they strongly support. This makes every voter equally powerful, unlike the current system that reduces voting power for voters with more candidates on their side.
  • Check out how STAR Voting would help improve representation for marginalized communities.

 

Q: Does the League of Women Voters Oppose STAR Voting?

  • No. The League of Women Voters policy is to speak with one voice on policy issues, and there is not a consensus on STAR Voting. 
  • Locally, The League of Women Voters Lane County has been very helpful and supportive. As a group the Lane League co-hosted a Town Hall series on STAR Voting with The Equal Vote Coalition and the Eugene Library. They are officially neutral. 
  • The Oregon League of Women Voters has put out a series of factually inaccurate white papers, and there is an internal effort to correct more misinformation in the 2023 white paper. They officially prefer RCV, but stated “We fully recognize that STAR voting is preferred to plurality, as is true for almost every other electoral system.”
  • The National League of Women Voters position is strongly supportive, as STAR Voting best passes the metrics they prioritize. Their position is: "We encourage electoral methods that provide the broadest voter representation possible and are expressive of voter choices."
  • Learn more here.

 

Q: Does STAR Voting violate majority rules? Can a candidate with the most votes lose?

  • No. The claim that STAR violates majority rules is misleading.  STAR Voting always elects the majority preferred finalist, who will also always have the most votes.
  • STAR Voting's scoring round ensures that winners have broad support across the electorate, and the automatic runoff ensures that the finalist preferred by the majority wins. 
  • In the current system, a candidate can win with a 51% majority even if they campaigned on killing the other 49%. This is why a strict Majority Criteria is controversial and there's an argument to be made that a candidate whose preferred by 49% but is strongly liked by everyone should win instead. 
  • In STAR Voting, it's technically possible that a candidate who was the first choice of a majority of voters might not get a high enough overall score to make the runoff. If that happens, it would be because they're a weaker and more polarizing candidate than the frontrunners. 
  • Elections can have multiple majority supported candidates. STAR Voting aims to find the strongest majority by electing whichever of the two highest-scoring candidates is preferred by a majority of voters.

 

Q: Will my ballot be counted if I give two candidates the same score? What if they’re the finalists?

  • Yes! In STAR Voting, you are allowed to score multiple candidates equally if you like or dislike them the same.
  • The legal text in the STAR Voting for Eugene charter amendment requires the ballot instructions to clearly state that you are allowed to score candidates equally.
  • If you have a preference between candidates, you should show it, but regardless, the scores you give will always help your favorites advance.
  • If you give both finalists the same score, your vote will actively be counted as a vote of Equal Preference between those two. The final tally always has three numbers:
    • The number of votes for the first finalist.
    • The number of votes for the second finalist.
    • The number of votes of Equal Preference. 
  • The ability to give candidates equal support, if desired, is critical for getting accurate results when there are many candidates in a race.
  • See our full FAQ for a longer explanation of Equal Preference Votes with visuals.

 

Q: Is STAR Voting untested?

  • No. STAR Voting has been used by countless political parties, organizations, businesses, and groups. See our endorsements page for just a few of them.
  • The Independent Party of Oregon used STAR Voting for its statewide primary elections in 2020. “It worked perfectly.” They did not hold a primary in 2022, and if they hold a primary in 2024, they will use STAR Voting again.
  • The Democratic Party of Oregon (DPO) used STAR Voting in 2020 for presidential delegate selection as part of an ongoing pilot program to try out multiple different voting methods. The DPO Election Integrity Caucus has endorsed and recommended STAR Voting for use by the party.
  • STAR Voting has thoroughly been tested by election experts around the world and has performed spectacularly in peer-reviewed studies.
  • Eugene would be the first jurisdiction to adopt STAR Voting for public elections. This follows a pattern of Oregon and Eugene leading the country in public innovations, and especially electoral innovations.
  • Importantly, STAR Voting would NOT require any new hardware or major logistical changes to the existing election process.

 

 

This page addresses the recent attacks about the STAR Voting for Eugene Measure, 20-349.

For FAQ questions about STAR Voting in general see the STAR Eugene FAQ and if you want a deeper dive, check out our full list of STAR Voting FAQs.

 

Learn more at starvoting.org and equal.vote or [email protected]