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City Club of Eugene: STAR Voting

A mock-up of a STAR Voting ballot.
Sara Wolk
Equal Vote Coalition
A mock-up of a STAR Voting ballot.

Program date: March 22, 2024

Air date: March 25, 2024

From the City Club of Eugene:

For generations, most American elections have revolved around the same basic rule: voters select their favorite candidate and the candidate with the largest number of votes wins. In many elections, the winner wins over 50% of the vote. But in others—including four of the last eight Presidential elections—the winning candidate may be the choice of fewer than half the electorate, with some elected with 25% of voters, or even fewer.

In recent years, reformers have wondered whether there is a better way to conduct our elections—one that leads to a more representative outcome by better reflecting the preferences of voters. This May, Eugene voters will decide whether to adopt one such reform for local elections—STAR Voting, short for “Score then Automatic Runoff.” Under a STAR voting system, voters score candidates from zero stars (worst) up to 5 stars (best).

The first count identifies the two highest scoring candidates as the finalists. In the second count, each vote automatically goes to the finalist the voter scored higher. The finalist with the most votes wins.

Skeptics of voting reform often worry about the complexity of the proposed systems. They fear a lack of voter understanding will translate into lower turnout and, potentially, a less representative outcome.

In this forum, you’ll hear from a proponent of STAR Voting, as well as from the local League of Women Voters president, who will provide an overview of several additional voting reform efforts, including “Ranked Choice Voting” (RCV), which will be on the statewide ballot in November.


Terry Parker is the President of the League of Women Voters of Lane County, a nonpartisan grassroots organization doing hands-on work to safeguard democracy through voter registration, education and advocacy.

When not navigating for the League, Terry sails the waters of British Columbia and is an avid knitter. She retired as Lane Transit District’s Accessible Services Manager in 2013.

Sara Wolk is the executive director and founding member of the Equal Vote Coalition, a nonprofit that is the driving force behind STAR voting. Her background includes work as a community organizer, activist, and musician, with a focus on systems design, sustainable architecture, and regenerative agriculture.

Wolk has been active in the voting reform movement for over a decade and is a peer-reviewed author on voting reform.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of significant local, state, and national issues and helps to formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of concern with elected officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and Broadcast

This program will be live streamed, and the videotape will be made available on the City Club of Eugene’s Facebook page and You Tube Channel, in addition to our website. It will be broadcast on Monday, March 25 at 7:00 pm, on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, visit CityClubOfEugene.org.

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