Letters to the editor


The Portland Charter Review Commission is considering whether to send ranked-choice voting or STAR voting to voters (“Portland charter reform: Proposed changes to city government, elections begin to take shape,” March 9). Its most recent reports indicate that members are leaning toward ranked-choice voting. I do not believe ranked-choice is legal in Portland under state law, but STAR voting would be. Three reasons why: State law requires each county to process its own votes; Portland is part of three counties; with ranked-choice voting, you cannot tally any subset of ballots in a way that is meaningful to the overall results. In other words, ranked-choice must be centrally tabulated, while STAR voting can be summed at the county level.

We should not send a measure to voters that cannot be implemented. Six municipalities in the U.S. have adopted ranked-choice but have not been able to implement it due to legal and technical issues. The Portland Charter Review Commission’s voting-method subcommittee recommended STAR voting after doing extensive research. It is a robust, equitable and innovative voting method that is vastly simpler than ranked-choice on every metric.

Portlanders need more than an empty reform that doesn’t deliver on what it promises. STAR voting delivers on the goals of ranked-choice in a way that ranked-choice doesn’t. This has been measured in multiple studies, and STAR voting has been successfully used for years by nonprofits, parties and organizations, many of them in Portland and Oregon. Portland can lead on this issue.
Annie Kallen, Portland
Kallen is chair of the Equal Vote Coalition, which spearheads the STAR voting campaign