How will STAR Voting help fix our economy?
Does this sound familiar? You’re voting in an election, and you pick a lesser-evil candidate instead of your favorite because you’re afraid of “throwing away your vote” and causing your greater-evil to win? If so, you’ve fallen victim to Choose One Voting. For most of us, it’s the only voting method we have, and it has suppression of voter opinion baked into the method itself. This is an important issue for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance because prioritizing the well-being of people and the planet is only possible if our voting method allows us to vote for the people who share those priorities. This article breaks down how we can fix this.
Choose One Voting can only be solved by allowing people to show support for multiple candidates (and counting all of that support). There are many alternate methods that do this, but our preferred method is STAR Voting. STAR Voting let’s people express their support for each candidate from zero up to five stars, and then the winner is determined using simple addition. The two candidates with the most stars overall are finalists, and your one full vote automatically goes to the finalist you scored higher. The finalist with the most votes wins!
Let’s walk through how Hannah (our hypothetical voter) would vote in a STAR election. Hannah’s favorite is Andre, however she also has strong feelings about the other candidates, and she fills out the stars accordingly. Hannah gave Andre 5 stars, and then gave 4 stars to Carmen and David (Hannah likes Carmen and David equally, but not as much as Andre). Blake and Ella were Hannah’s least favorite options, so she scored them 1 and 0 stars respectively. In the scoring round, Hannah’s ballot adds 5 stars to Andre’s tally, 1 star to Blake’s tally, etc. Once all the stars have been added for all voters, Carmen and Blake have the most stars and they become finalists. In the automatic runoff round, each vote is counted as a Blake vote or a Carmen vote (or a vote of No Preference), and Hannah’s vote is counted as a Carmen vote because she scored Carmen higher than Blake on her ballot. In the end, more voters preferred Carmen over Blake, so Carmen wins!
Hannah experienced many benefits by using STAR Voting. She was able to …
- Support multiple candidates
- Express level of of support
- Give candidates the same score
- Give her full support for her favorite (Andre)
- Use her vote to help avoid her worst case scenario (her vote counted toward Carmen in the final round)
STAR isn’t the only solution being considered. You may have also heard of Ranked Choice Voting, and Approval Voting, but STAR is the only one of those that can satisfy all 5 points. If you want to read more about the benefits of STAR compared to other voting methods, you can learn more here: https://www.starvoting.org/pros_and_cons