STAR Voting for Lane County FAQ

Am I eligible to sign?:

Q: Who is eligible to sign?

A: Lane County registered voters.

 

Q: What if I already signed a petition like this?

A: This petition has been circulating since August 1st, 2019. If you signed the STAR Voting for Lane County petition after that please do not sign again.

If you signed a STAR Voting for Lane County petition before 2018, this is a new and different initiative, and you should sign again.

 

About Lane County Elections:

Q: How does the current system work for local elections?:

A: 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.

 

About STAR Voting:

Q: How would STAR Voting work for Lane County elections?:

A: 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 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.)

You only need to vote once, and ballots are counted in two rounds. 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 -- this step is a simple majority vote with your vote going to the finalist you gave a higher score to. Each ballot counts as one vote.

 

Q: What would the ballot look like?

A: All county races would have bubbles next to each candidates for you to mark your scores from 0-5. Instructions on how to fill in a 5 star ballot would also be included on the ballot itself. Here's an example of a filled out 5 star ballot:

Until we adopt STAR Voting in other jurisdictions, elections for city, state, and national offices would all remain as they are currently.

 

Q: Would this effect local ballot initiatives too or just candidates?

A: STAR Voting would only be used for candidate races for Lane County offices. Ballot initiatives would remain yes/no.

 

Q: Would STAR Voting cost money or save money?

A: For the first year of implementation STAR Voting would represent an additional expense, but because it eliminates the primary, it would pay for itself and then begin to save money within a few election cycles.

Initial adoption of STAR Voting would require a software upgrade for our current ballot scanners and tabulators. No new equipment would need to be purchased but the upgrade would need to be officially certified, which costs money. Additionally there would be some cost associated with educational materials to ensure that voters understand the new system. We estimate those costs to be under 100k dollars in the first year only. If Eugene adopts STAR Voting first this cost likely be cut in 1/2.

In subsequent years STAR Voting would cost less than the current primary and top two general election system. As more jurisdictions adopt STAR Voting, the associated cost savings will continue to grow.

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  • Sara Wolk
    published this page 2020-11-20 22:25:23 -0800