6,911 signatures were collected in the first six months of the Lane County 20-2019-2 ballot initiative signature drive before the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the canvass was suspended due to public safety concerns.

 

 

A simple change that could have a huge impact:

  • More choice. Voters simply score candidates from 0 up to 5 stars.
  • Just one election in November. Lane County elections are already non-partisan and adopting STAR Voting would eliminate the need for expensive and low-turnout primaries for local offices including our County Commissioners, County Clerk, and Sheriff.
  • STAR Voting eliminates spoilers and vote-splitting, so you can stop worrying about who you think can win and just focus on the candidates and the issues.
  • STAR Voting elects majority preferred winners.
  • STAR Voting would pay for itself within a few election cycles and then would start saving taxpayers money.
  • This is our chance to be a model for the rest of the nation.

Learn more about STAR Voting here: starvoting.us/star





Action Items: 

  • Write to the Lane County Commissioners to either grant us an extension to address lost time because of the pandemic, or to put the initiative on the ballot themselves directly.
  • Write to the press, podcasts, radio hosts, and journalists and ask them to cover this story! Ask them to schedule and interview with the Equal Vote Lane County team at [email protected]

We need to raise awareness about this injustice and violation of our rights. The US Bill of Rights 1st Amendment explicitly upholds the right of the people "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," and Oregon Law clearly creates and protects the rights of the people to use the ballot initiative process to bring about needed change in government. The signatures collected by the STAR Voting for Lane County (Petition 20-2019-2) represented roughly 500 volunteer hours, by dozens of earnest volunteers engaging in the civic process in good faith. Those citizens deserve better. 

 

The STAR Voting for Lane County 2022 Campaign: 

On August 1st 2019 the STAR Voting campaign launched a new STAR Voting for Lane County ballot initiative, concurrent with a sister-campaign for STAR Voting for Eugene. The initiative had 2 full years to collect the signatures and six months later, with volunteers only, we had almost 7 thousand collected out of 14,174 verified signatures needed by the time the Covid-19 pandemic hit. With two of our canvassers already sick we made the hard decision to suspend the canvass on March 1st, 2020. At that time, we reached out to Lane Elections and the Secretary of State to notify them that for safety reasons we had made this difficult call and to request alternative canvassing options and an extension to make up for this lost time. These requests were renewed again when it became clear as the pandemic dragged on with no end in sight. We never received a reply or recourse from either.

It's important to note that aside from in-person canvassing at the Lane County local level at that time there was no other signature collection option available. When we launched we had asked about online options and had been told that e-signature sheets (which had been available in past years) were no longer available because they had proven to be ineffective, were cost prohibitive for most campaigns to use effectively, and ultimately were deemed useless. At some point in 2020 this decision was apparently reversed, but we were not notified that e-sheets were available until we finally received a reply to further inquiries in early 2021. 

With the August 2021 deadline growing close and with cases reaching new all time highs in Lane County we redoubled our efforts to receive an extension but despite being told through backchannels that the majority of the Lane County commissioners supported the idea, it never came to a vote. 

 

The STAR Voting for Lane County 2018 Campaign: 

STAR Voting for Lane County is our flagship campaign and has been a central focus of the STAR Voting project since 2017 when we launched our first petition drive. In under 100 days, the team was able to collect the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, and in November 2018 measure 20-290 came up for a vote. The petition narrowly lost, falling just 2% short of a majority.

That said, the campaign had faced a number of barriers which could have made all the difference:

  • The question was on the back of the ballot and was missed by many voters, who didn't realize they needed to turn the page to find the rest of the initiative section. A full 12% of voters didn't vote on the question at all. This is important because when we look at all the voters who voted in that election, the STAR Voting race was actually 42% yes to 46% no. 
  • The ballot title given to the petition by Lane County Elections was horrible, was confusing, and the ballot itself didn't actually include the words "STAR Voting." Many people didn't realize that the question they saw was in fact the STAR Voting reform they supported and we received calls from dozens of confused voters that they had expected to see out initiative on the ballot but hadn't seen it when they were voting. 
  • When we took a closer look at the election results by precinct we saw that every jurisdiction where we had been able to campaign and had gotten lawn signs out to our supporters had voted yes. The campaign had run out of funds part way through the home stretch and hadn't been able to get lawn signs out in the further out and more rural areas. 
  • Eugene voters had overwhelmingly voted YES on STAR Voting, and in the central areas of Eugene where our campaign focused more over 70% had voted yes.