Each of these three distinct questions share a lot of overlap in their answers, so we will answer them all together.
- While simply electing the score winner would still be a massive improvement over our current Choose-one Voting, the combination of the limited 0 to 5 range and the automatic runoff addresses a few shortfalls of plain Score Voting.
- An important consideration in the design of any system meant to be used by people is cognitive load. Most people can only hold 5 to 7 different things in their mind at a time to compare to each other. Have you ever voted in an election with 20+ candidates? It’s overwhelming to consider that many options. Most voters will not have strong opinions about more than 5 or 6 candidates in most elections. By maximizing expression within the confines of typical cognitive load, STAR Voting levels the playing field for voters so voters who have the desire and time to thoroughly research every candidate in a large field can’t gain an edge.
- Because each voter’s one full vote goes to the finalist they prefer, it is in their best interest to honestly show a distinction between as many pairs of candidates as possible to ensure their vote makes a difference. Because the range of the ballot is limited to 6 distinct ratings, voters who want to express those preferences would need to leverage all of those ratings. Again, this levels the playing field for voters because it brings some objectivity into the process of scoring, i.e. two different voters will likely both give their “third choice” candidate 3 stars.
- The automatic runoff improves STAR’s legal viability. Every state has its own election code, and they’re all a bit different. Since they were all written with Choose-one Voting in mind, voting methods for local reforms need to be compatible with that language. Legally defining a “vote” under plain Score Voting is far messier than under STAR, which gives every voter exactly one vote toward the finalist they prefer. Additionally, many municipalities are subject to majority clauses in their respective state laws that tend to require them to run two separate elections for a single race. Because STAR Voting always elects a majority preferred winner, many municipalities can implement STAR Voting as a way to skip unneeded elections if they so desire. This also saves localities heaps of money in the long run.
- Scoring methods and ranking methods tend to have some opposite and undesirable effects in the kinds of candidates they elect. The big breakthrough of STAR is the hybridization of these effects so they balance each other out. STAR Voting has inspired the invention of many new (and more complicated) hybrid voting methods, and they mostly all perform better than their non-hybrid counterparts. While STAR Voting continues to be our champion proposal for real-world reform, STAR is also the foundation of a renaissance in voting theory.
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