Proportional STAR Voting, (STAR-PR) is a voting method that can elect multiple candidates in elections where more than one seat is available. STAR-PR is based almost entirely on re-weighted range voting with the addition of a runoff between the two highest scoring candidates for each seat.
STAR-PR, like normal STAR Voting, uses a score ballot, where the voter can assign a score to each candidate. We use 0-5 in this example.
- Voters fill out their ballots as usual, giving the highest score to their favorite(s) and so on. The scores are totaled and the two candidates with the highest score advance to an instant runoff. Whichever you scored higher gets your full vote in the runoff. Just like in single-winner STAR Voting. The first winner has been elected!
- To find the next winner, the remaining candidates scores are counted again with one change. If you gave a non-zero score to the candidate that won a round, your ballot's influence is reduced in proportion to how much you "won." In every round, your ballot influence is 1 / (1 + sum/max), where sum is the total of the scores you've given to winning candidates. So if you gave 5 out of 5 points to the winner of the first seat, your subsequent ballot influence would be one half (1 / (1 + 5/5)). meaning that in the second round if you gave your next favorite 4 out of 5 then it would be counted as a 2 from the influence multiplier.
- As in the first round, the the candidates with the highest weighted scores advance to a runoff. Whichever you scored higher gets your full vote, multiplied by your ballot influence, in the runoff.
- This process continues until enough candidates are elected to fill all the available seats.
Weakening the ballots of voters who have already won allows minority voters to elect a winner as well if they have sizable proportion of the voting block. Minority groups will be better represented by the group of elected politicians. The runoff ensures that those minority candidates sill have wide support and works to prevent divisive extremist candidates from getting elected. This creates a legislative body that better represents all the voters as opposed to group that only represents the majority.
Advantages over other forms of Proportional Representation:
- The nature of the scored ballot and the election process encourages candidates to reach out to all voters, not just their core and it also keeps them accountable to all voters if the want to seek re-election.
- STAR-PR is non-partisan. You don't just vote the party line, you actually choose which individual candidates you like and evaluate them based on whatever criteria is most important to you.
- Conventional Proportional Representation has been linked to helping extremest factions come to power in the past, from the Nazis in Germany to the Fascists in Italy. It's possible that the runoff stage, by offering other factions the ability to tip the race between candidates of one faction, will work to the advantage of candidates who play to a broader audience.
- STAR-PR is less likely to elect polarized groups of candidates that can't agree on anything and can't get anything done. This is because of the incentive given by scored ballots to maintain approval from as wide a group of voters as possible.
- An automatic runoff for each seat was added to the Re-weighted Range Voting system to help incentivize voters to rate all the candidates honestly and expressively. More honest voting leads to better results overall.
Disadvantages of STAR-PR:
- Votes must be sent to a central location before they can be counted. This is true of all existing Proportional Representation systems.
- Hasn't been tested in a real world election.
- Elected officials aren't tied to specific districts. This can decrease accountability to local areas.
- STAR-PR is fairly complicated, though less so than ranked ballot forms of PR.