The Equal Vote Coalition is the driving force behind STAR Voting
Our mission is simple. Fight tirelessly for the Equal Vote.
Democracy is supposed to mean for the people by the people but full equality in elections has never existed. EVER! We are setting out to address this inequality and we are starting with the root of the problem. The voting system itself.
Who Are We:
The Equal Vote Coalition was first envisioned in 2007 in Eugene, Oregon by Mark Frohnmayer. It's steadily grown to include a diverse network of members for a variety of backgrounds within the voting reform and election reform movements. The Equal Vote Coalition is non-partisan and includes longtime supporters and former and current advocates for other voting methods including from the Ranked Choice Voting movement as well as Score and Approval Voting movements. We believe that STAR Voting is the proposal that we need on a national level.
Equal Vote is actively working on growing our coalition and we'd love to have you. We are committed to doing broad outreach and are working to build a coalition of leaders that is more than the sum of its parts. We are particularly interested in getting more connected with community and citizen advocacy groups and in keeping our membership and leadership representative of the full spectrum of Oregonians. Forging a broad coalition is key to helping keep us on track so that we can grow a movement that can earn broad support, from inner city Portland all the way to rural Oregon and beyond. We all deserve equality and we all want to be fairly represented. In an era of unprecedented polarization this is something we can unite around.
Our Equal Vote PDX chapter is directly partnered with our sister chapter in Eugene which is running a twin ballot initiative. We are also currently in coalition with the Portland chapter of Represent.Us and the Portland chapter of RCV Oregon.** RCV-OR is the group which successfully passed RCV in Benton County in 2016 and notably, a Chief Petitioner for that ballot initiative Alan Zundel is currently a Chief Petitioner for our "STAR Voting for Lane County" initiative.
Endorsements for the STAR Voting initiatives
* Bernie PDX/Our Revolution PDX
* Portland chapter of RCV-OR.**
* Alan Zundel of RCV-OR and the successful Benton County RCV Campaign.
* Mark Lakeman
* City Repair
* Alliance For Democracy
* Progressive Party Of Oregon
* Represent.Us PDX
* King Neighborhood Association
* Julia DeGraw, community organizer and former candidate for PDX City Council
* Foster-Powell Neighborhood Asscociation
* Our Revolution Eugene
* James Barber, Former candidate for East Lane County Commissioner
* ...and more
Words of Encouragement:
* "[We] think STAR voting is worth testing – we think it’s an interesting approach." and "we support [STAR] getting some actual election experience." -Sightline Institute
* "I don't see bullet voting as a strategic incentive with STAR voting." and "FairVote is neutral on STAR voting in governmental elections" -Rob Richie of FairVote, the group advocating for Ranked Choice Voting
* "Rated runoff methods (in particular STAR and 3-2-1)... combine the VSE advantages of score or approval with extra resistance to the chicken dilemma. These are currently my own favorites as ultimate goals for practical reform, though I still support approval as the first step." and " [STAR Voting] is undeniably a top-shelf election method, and arguably the best out of all the ones I tested." -Jameson Quinn, Vice-Chair and Director at the Center For Election Science and statistics Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University where his research focuses on voting systems
* “As a mathematician, I am deeply impressed by STAR Voting's ability to incentivize honest voting. It will be a powerful force in dissolving the stranglehold that the current 2-party system has on our political landscape, and I for one am ecstatic about that more representative future.” -Emily Dempsey, Portland-based mathematician and computer scientist
* "I support STAR Voting because it creates a more level playing field for candidates and will respect the will of the voters." -Julia DeGraw, community organizer and former candidate for PDX City Council
If you or your group would like to endorse this ballot initiative please email firstname.lastname@example.org
** History of the Equal Vote PDX chapter
RCV Oregon's Portland Chapter started meeting Nov. '16 after the presidential election and many were surprised to find that the group was initially quite split between advocates for a number of voting systems. From the beginning the unanimous goal was a ballot initiative for voting reform. We also all agreed and that any of the alternative voting systems suggested would be an improvement, but it was clear that the group needed to determine which reform was best, and also which had the passionate support needed to take voting reform from the drawing board and put it successfully in the county charter. The plan was that if the group worked together to make a collective decision early in the game the various camps could avoid running competing initiatives and getting in each others way.
There was a 4 month process with over a hundred people actively meeting regularly and engaging across a number of forums and thousands more following our progress. Getting educated and debating the issues was a priority and once the population felt confident that they could make an educated decision, a vote was scheduled a month out. RCV OR hosted a public meeting to decide on a voting system to take to ballot initiative in April 2017. STAR Voting won that vote by a significant margin. (STAR was called SRV or Score Runoff Voting at the time.) It was also decided that the group would still be supportive of RCV where it's been passed already and that RCV is a better choice than Plurality Voting, but that RCV would not be the goal for new initiatives.
The week of the vote a few founding members of the chapter who still were advocating for RCV announced that they had split off from the group and that they intended to continue working on Ranked Choice Voting. They named their new group RCV-PDX. Many people found it to be misleading and confusing to use essentially the same name, especially since the splinter group was no longer representative of the decisions made by the group at large. RCV-PDX is not affiliated with the statewide group RCV-OR or the Portland Chapter of RCV-OR.
Not long after the vote, down in Central Oregon, Alan Zundel, the original founder of the statewide group RCV-OR and one of the leaders of the successful movement and initiative to pass Ranked Choice Voting in Benton County, decided to endorse STAR Voting as the best reform for Oregon and signed on to be a Chief Petitioner for "STAR Voting for Lane County". Alan is currently the record holder for total signatures gathered and his experience and skill is invaluable.
In order to prevent confusion between RCV-OR and the splinter group RCV-PDX some name changes were needed. The appointed steering committee of the local Portland chapter of RCV-OR voted in May '17 to join the Equal Vote Coalition and adopt the name Equal Vote-PDX which they have been using ever since.
Alan decided to change the names of the RCV-OR facebook page and group to make them distinct from the splinter group and also more encompassing of other alternative voting systems like STAR Voting. He changed the name from "Ranked Choice Voting Oregon" to "Real Choice Voting Oregon". The intention was to keep the acronym so that supporters could still find the page, and also to prevent confusion from having two groups with different missions and ultimately the same name. Time will tell if that change will stick or not.
Alan didn't feel like dissolving RCV-OR or making more significant changes was an option as that would have hurt the still active campaign to implement RCV where it had been passed in Benton County.
So where does that leave us?
Recently Benton County procured the funding needed to go forward with finally implementing Ranked Choice Voting and it looks like it will get it's first trial in 2020. We expect that RCV-OR will be active in that process and in the educational campaign. RCV Oregon is a critical member of our coalition and we are proud to have won the support of one of their key leaders and many of their members. We're stronger together!
The RCV-OR Portland chapter evolved into the Equal Vote Portland Chapter and continues to operate under the Equal Vote name and umbrella with the same membership as always.