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Oregon voting reform proposal something Idaho should watch, consider




You rate hotels, restaurants, how your product or service was provided. So why not do the same in choosing those for elected office?

Reform in some U.S. states is providing for improved candidate selection, such as rank choice voting where the top contestants in a multiple candidate race are determined by eliminating those with the fewest first-choice votes.


David Rauzi

Toward that end, voters in Lane County, Ore., will be deciding this November to adopt the STAR (Score, Then Automatic Runoff) method. As proposed, STAR would let voters assign a level of support for each candidate. The two candidates with the highest cumulative scores would go to an instant runoff. The candidate who scored higher most often by voters would be the winner.

STAR proponents state the current winner-takes-all system forces voters to choose the least objectionable candidates, or candidates with similar views can split the vote and “spoiler” candidates can emerge.

The idea here is candidates would be elected with broad support from voters, as well as grading candidates in a more refined way that, according to one proponent, “allows for the true, nuanced views of the voters to be expressed.”

One proponent, 1990 Republican nominee for Oregon governor, Mark Frohnmayer, noted this is not a partisan issue, as the spoiler effect happens on both sides: “It’s just a horrible feature of the way we vote.”

Idaho’s current system works, “it ain’t broke,” but admit to yourself how often you’ve left the polls feeling you’ve just been herded into a corral of few options, or worse, having to choose between the lesser of two evils. How much more would voters be energized and encouraged to participate if they were empowered to fine tune their choices to truly show their levels of support.


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