LANE COUNTY, ORE. - Voters in Lane County, Oregon may not have voted to approve STAR voting in the 2018 midterm election. However, advocates are still celebrating the world's first STAR voting campaign, and the close election to implement it.
“Almost 75,000 Lane County voters chose YES to support a fundamentally new political process,” said Co-Petitioner Mark Frohnmayer.
“This result, for a brand new system that many voters only learned about when they received their ballots three weeks ago, is simply phenomenal. It speaks to voters’ frustration with the political status quo, the long term political viability, and the common sense accessibility of the STAR Voting reform. We are deeply grateful for the incredible support from our volunteer team and our peers around the county. We’re just getting started.”
In the end, though, the final vote tally was 47.5% in favor and 52.6% opposed. The campaign points out that a majority of Lane County voters did not actually vote agains the reform as over 11% did not vote in the down ballot race.
The campaign says the loss only invigorated its supporters.
“This narrow loss has stoked our fire and has left us hungry for more. We went into this as impassioned and inspired election reformers. We came out seasoned organizers with a stellar proposal, top-notch educational materials, a committed canvassing team, and over 70,000 new fans. This is only the beginning. Look out 2020," said Sara Wolf, campaign manager for STAR Voting for Lane County.
STAR (Score Then Automatic Runoff) Voting is a brand new voting method -- never before used in any election in the world. Basically, voters score or rate candidates on the ballot on a 0-5 star scale. Think about what it would be like to rate candidates like an Amazon product or Uber driver. The top top candidates move on to an automatic runoff where the candidate who scores highest among all voters wins.
It is one of a handful of new voting methods being proposed in the US to replace choose-one voting that reformers want to change. On stop of eliminating vote-splitting (think "lesser of two evils" voting) and plurality decisions rather than majority, advocates of STAR Voting say it also eliminates the need for a primary election before November.