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IPO Prefers STAR Voting

The Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) supports Measure 20-349, the STAR Voting for Eugene initiative for 2024.

IPO used STAR Voting for its 2020 statewide primary election.  STAR Voting worked perfectly.  While our support staff answered many voter questions on how they could verify their identities online, we received no questions about how to use STAR Voting.  For each office, the system accurately advanced the two most popular candidates to the automatic runoff round and there selected the candidate preferred by the most voters.

Candidates included Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Progressives, Greens, and non-affiliated candidates.  STAR Voting enabled IPO to nominate candidates to the general election ballot with majority support whenever possible and without “vote splitting” causing unrepresentative results.

Conventional primaries can easily nominate candidates with less than majority support.  For example, imagine there are 3 "liberal" candidates and one "conservative" candidate for a nomination where most voters prefer the liberal policies.  A conventional primary can nominate the conservative, simply because the liberal votes are split among 3 candidates.  STAR Voting removes this "vote-splitting" or "spoiler” effect.  It would advance the conservative and the most popular liberal to the automatic runoff, where the liberal would likely win.

Measure 20-349 also eliminates the primary election for city offices.  Today, Oregon’s primary election for state/local government offices--3rd Tuesday in May–is earlier than 40 other states.  A candidate who wins nomination for nonpartisan office (but not an outright majority) in the May primary must run again in November.  Running 2 campaigns increases costs and need for candidates to raise funds, including from people who may seek favors.

The early primary severely  restricts opportunities for non-career-politicians.  Today, you have to file your candidacy by March in the election year, 7.5 months before the November election.  Under Measure 20-349, you could file in late August, if you became displeased with professional politicians.

STAR Voting is a simple yet vast improvement over conventional plurality voting.

In 2018 IPO was a major party (with more than 5% of all Oregon registered voters as members).  In Oregon, a major party is required to choose all of its nominees by means of a State-administered and State-funded primary election.  So the State sent out over 120,000 ballots to IPO members for the November 2018 election.

Due to the new system of automatically registering new voters as NAV, which went into effect in 2018, IPO's membership continued to grow but slipped under the 5% threshold by 2020.  So in 2020 (and since then) IPO is a minor party.  The State performs no primary for minor parties, which are entirely on their own in selecting their nominees.

In 2020 IPO used STAR Voting for its online primary election and was extremely satisfied with the STAR Voting system.   Yes, our turnout declined from 2018 to 2020, but only because in 2018 the State mailed out over 120,000 primary ballots to IPO members, while in 2020 the State mailed out zero such ballots.

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