Oregon Cities

Voters give a thumbs down to proposal for rating-based election system in Eugene

Eugene voters rejected a proposal in Tuesday's primary for a new rating-based voting system dubbed STAR voting.

Eugene voters rejected a proposal in Tuesday’s primary for a new rating-based voting system dubbed STAR voting.

Nathan Wilk / KLCC

Eugene voters have rejected a proposal for a new rating-based election system.

If the measure had passed, the city would have adopted the STAR voting system in 2026 in races for city council, mayor and the city’s water and electric board starting in 2026.

Under the system, the public would rate multiple candidates on a scale of zero to five. The two highest scorers would then advance to an automatic run-off election.

In initial returns, just 33% of voters supported the idea, with 67% opposing it.

Supporters of the proposal had argued it could end concerns around spoiler candidates and electability, while discouraging political polarization.

But in April, several voter advocacy groups came out against the proposal. They argued it hadn’t been tested enough, and could have led to strategic voting and public confusion.

Sara Wolk, a chief petitioner for the ballot measure, said at an election party Tuesday the system was mischaracterized and misunderstood.

Wolk said advocates will now work to provide resources for companies and political parties to adopt STAR voting. She said she hopes the public can see this system in action, and it can become normalized.

“When Eugene voters or when the world is ready to change, we’re going to have a beautiful proposal with an elegant solution,” Wolk said.


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