Local Measures

• 20-290 Lane County: Amends charter, adopts “Score, Then Automatic Runoff” voting for elections. Yes.

America needs a new election system. Measure 20-290, known as “Score, Then Automatic Runoff” (STAR), proposes a solution that could work. STAR voting allows you to score candidates — from zero to five. The two candidates with the highest scores are then taken to a second round. From there, the candidate preferred by the most voters wins.

STAR Voting would remove the spoiler effect, so you can go ahead and vote your conscience. Imagine that. We could have an actual democracy. The spoiler effect of “choose one” has resulted in Republican presidencies that the majority of Americans didn’t vote for. (To be fair, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore were both weaker candidates, and it makes sense that some people would gamble and vote for Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders.)

STAR would also remove the need for a primary election by consolidating it into one election — which would have more turnout. Just take the East Lane County Commissioner race. Voters had to choose among six candidates. The problem is that the 2018 primary election had a low turnout of 35 percent. Essentially one-third of county voters dictated which commissioner candidates would show up on the November ballot. STAR supporters say their system will allow candidates to avoid the primary election and can instead campaign during the more pleasant summer — and it would take some of the money out of county races.

For those who are concerned about the STAR system jeopardizing our election system, this will only be used for the nonpartisan county races of county commissioner. Some call STAR Voting not ready for primetime. However, reforming our broken election system requires throwing something out there. Are you going to keep a bird in its nest forever just because you’re worried it’s not ready to fly?

To read about other local endorsements from Eugene Weekly click here.

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