STAR Voting for Lane County


Almost 75,000 voters voted YES on Measure 20-290

11/6/18 Election Results: 

20-290 Score Then Automatic Runoff

aka. STAR Voting for Lane County


Yes: 74,408      42.0%

No: 82,157      46.4%    

Abstain: 20,534     11.6%

Total 156,565 / 177,099


This is just the beginning. 


Divisiveness and partisanship in our political system have grown to historic and unacceptable levels. Candidates shape their messages to one political base or another, but fail to talk to We The People as a whole. We believe that how we vote is at the root of this political dysfunction, and that STAR Voting offers the true potential to begin the healing of our politics by offering us all an equal and expressive voice in the process.
Some reasons to use STAR Voting instead of our current method:

STAR is fair to all candidates and voters

STAR lets voters express their views more fully

STAR eliminates the bother and cost of two elections

STAR allows voters to listen to more candidates,
and allows candidates to listen to more voters

The initiative would have replaced our antiquated top-two two election system for county offices with the best-in-class STAR Voting system - an incredibly accurate single election system that gives every voter an equal voice about all the candidates running for office.
Join us, get involved, and help us adopt STAR Voting for Lane County our next initiative for 2020. 

The voters pamphlet features 9 arguments in favor and none in opposition.
Click here to read them for yourself! 

How does it work?

Our current system:

Currently elected county offices are filled using a "top two jungle primary" system involving a primary election in the spring and a general election in November. The election is non-partisan and no party labels show up on the ballot, so Democrats might be running against Democrats and Republicans running against Republicans.

If a candidate gets a majority in the primary (50%+1 of the votes), that is the only candidate who appears on the November ballot -- even though many more voters show up for the November election. If no candidate gets a majority in the primary, the two candidates with the most votes go to the November ballot  -- even though each of them got only a minority of the total vote in the primary.

In the November election voters are given the choice of only the one or two candidates who made it through the spring primary.

How STAR Voting would work:

STAR stands for "Score Then Automatic Runoff," and also refers to the fact that voters can score any or all candidates on a scale of 0 to 5 (0 for no support and 5 for the most support) similar to giving 5 star ratings to a movie or restaurant.

With STAR Voting there is no need for a primary election, so voters would vote only once, in November. This makes for a shorter campaign season focused on the summer and fall when people are paying more attention. It also makes it easier for candidates who don't have big donors to run a viable campaign.

The ballot would still be nonpartisan, but instead of being limited to picking just one candidate, you can give a score to any or all candidates -- even giving the same score to two or more candidates you prefer equally. (Giving no score is counted as a zero.)

When the ballots are counted two things determine the winner. First the scores for each candidate are added up across all of the ballots, and the two candidates with the highest total scores become "finalists." This shows they have relatively high and broad support from the voters. Second, the same ballots are used to determine which of those two finalist candidates was preferred by the most voters -- a simple majority vote with each ballot counting for one vote, with your vote going to the finalist you gave a higher score to.


Summary of main benefits:

  • No primary election, making it easier on candidates and more convenient for voters
  • More expressive voting: voters can express their level of support for any or all candidates
  • Fair to all candidates, with money being less of a factor
  • Produces a winner with broad support

Mock-up of Completed Ballot

This shows what a filled-out ballot might look like. The voter has chosen to give scores to all of the candidates except Chris, giving the highest score to Bianca, equal scores to Able and Felix, a middle score to Diego, and low score to Erin:



Post election press release


Lane County petitioners celebrate historic first campaign to institute STAR Voting

Eugene, OR November 7, 2018 Campaign organizers and volunteers gathered Tuesday night to watch the election returns roll in for the world’s first campaign to institute STAR Voting in public elections. STAR Voting would have replaced Lane County’s “Top Two” primary/general election system with a single November election using STAR Voting. STAR Voting allows voters to support candidates on a 0-5 scale, and elects the majority favorite between the two top-scoring candidates. Although the final tally was 42.0% in favor and 46.4% opposed, with 11.6% abstaining, campaign supporters were jubilant.

“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.”

If measure 20-290 had passed, Lane County, OR would have been the first in the world to adopt a voting method in which every citizen’s vote carries equal voting power. The fundamental inequality with the current “Chose-One-Only” ballot comes from vote-splitting, where similar candidates can leave supporters divided and conquered, allowing a candidate who was opposed by the majority to win. Vote splitting is at the root of the Spoiler Effect, which then leads to polarization, strategic voting, and wasted votes.

Campaign manager Sara Wolf had this to say, “Voters we talked with were overwhelmingly positive and supportive of STAR Voting once they had the chance to learn about it. Unfortunately, we did hear from a number of voters who had left the question blank on their ballots due to confusion on the ballot language. The ballot title referred to Score-Then-Automatic-Runoff Voting but didn’t use the more common name, STAR Voting. The number of voters who left the question blank was more than double the amount needed to have secured a win, so this may have been a significant factor.” 

“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!”

The campaign plans to “Open Source” all of the educational materials it created as a STAR as a campaign starter kit for reformers around the country.