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New Voting Methods

New Bill Introduced In Oregon Would Make History with STAR Voting

The Equal Vote Coalition announced Monday that a historic new bill has been introduced in the Oregon State House that would establish STAR (Score, Then Automatic Runoff) Voting as the default voting method in Oregon. Oregon would be the first state to adopt the voting method’s use.

STAR Voting is different from alternative voting methods that have gained traction across the country, like ranked choice voting and approval voting. Voters can think of it as scoring candidates the way they would rate products on Amazon:

Voters can assign a score to candidates of 0-5 stars. In theory, they would score their favorite candidate 5 stars, their least favorite 0 stars, and any other candidate how they prefer based on the level of support for that candidate.

This is traditionally known as Score Voting. STAR Voting adds an automatic runoff for the two candidates with the highest scores. Each ballot then counts as a single vote based on the candidate voters preferred (the one they scored higher). 

STAR Voting would be used in all state elections in Oregon if the Equal Vote Coalition’s new bill, House Bill 3250, introduced by Representative Zach Hudson, is approved by the legislature and signed into law. Additionally, the bill permits STAR Voting's use in local and multi-winner elections, and would eliminate primaries for non-partisan elections.

"I am excited about what this bill can do for Oregon's voting system, and look forward to working with its broad, passionate base of advocates,” remarked Representative Hudson.

Though not used in public elections, STAR Voting has already been used in Oregon. The Independent Party of Oregon used it for its 2020 primary, marking the first binding election to use the alternative voting method. The Multnomah County Democratic Party also used it for its internal elections and the Democratic Party of Oregon used it to select its delegates for the presidential election.

“Our current 'Choose-One-Only Plurality' voting method works fine when races have only two candidates, or only two parties.  But as soon as a 3rd party steps up, or if there is a competitive primary with more than two candidates, our current election process is plagued by vote splitting and spoilers, leaving many feeling unrepresented,” said Sara Wolk, Executive Director of the Equal Vote Coalition.  “STAR Voting simply and effectively solves these problems."

STAR Voting is also the subject of three ballot initiatives for local elections around the state. 

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About the Author

Shawn Griffiths

Shawn is an election reform expert and National Editor of IVN.us. He studied history and philosophy at the University of North Texas. He joined the IVN team in 2012.

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