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Proposal alters county voting

In an idea supporters hope will spread, the STAR system ranks candidates to avoid ‘spoiler elections’

By Ed Russo

The Register-Guard

If voters approve in November, Lane County will be a testing ground for a new way to elect people to public office.

Supporters are gathering signatures to place on the ballot a proposal that would allow voters to rate candidates with a numerical score, instead of the present method that forces voters to choose only one candidate for each office.

Called STAR — “Score, Then Automatic Runoff” — the method would let voters assign a level of support for each candidate, possibly ranging from zero for no support to five for the most support.

When votes are counted, the two candidates who received the highest cumulative scores would go to an instant runoff. The candidate who was scored higher most often by voters would be declared the winner.

The result would elect candidates “with broad and fairly high support from voters,” said Alan Zundel, co-chief petitioner of STAR Voting for Lane County.

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