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Will Challenging Status Quo Truly Bring Electoral Reform?

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John Quick (Solo Blog) By Thursday, 23 May 2024 08:57 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive


I recently had the extraordinary opportunity to sit down with Mark Frohnmayer, a man whose innovative approach to voting systems challenges the status quo and sparks significant debate.

Frohnmayer, the co-inventor of the STAR Voting system and founder of the Equal Vote Coalition, is making waves with his proposal, positioning STAR Voting as a formidable alternative to rank-choice voting.

Mark's journey to electoral reform is as diverse as it is impressive. With a degree in electrical engineering and computer science from U.C., Berkeley, he first made his mark in the gaming industry, leading the development of popular titles like Starsiege: Tribes and Tribes 2.

His entrepreneurial spirit drove him to create Arcimoto, an electric vehicle company dedicated to sustainable transportation. Now, Frohnmayer focuses on fixing what he sees as fundamental flaws in our voting systems.

In our conversation, Mark explained how his passion for democracy was ignited early on.

"I was born into my dad's first political campaign," the son of former Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer recalled, describing childhood memories of campaign maps and political strategy. This early exposure laid the groundwork for his later realization of the systemic inequities in our voting methods.

"The spoiler effect and vote-splitting are major issues," he noted, pointing out how these flaws undermine the principle of one person, one vote.

Mark's commitment to electoral reform led him to co-found the Equal Vote Coalition in 2014. The coalition aims to promote equality in voting through rigorous research, community education, and coalition building.

The STAR (Score Then Automatic Runoff) Voting system, which Mark co-invented, is at the heart of this mission. "STAR Voting meets five core criteria: Equality, Honesty, Accuracy, Expressiveness and Simplicity," he explained.

While I remain critical of both rank-choice voting and STAR Voting, it is crucial to engage with new ideas and appreciate the efforts of those striving to improve our democratic processes. Frohnmayer's criticisms of rank-choice voting are rooted in its complex tabulation method.

"Rank-choice voting allows you to express preferences but discards some voters' secondary preferences randomly," he said. "This can lead to unpredictable and often unfair outcomes."

STAR Voting, on the other hand, aims to rectify these issues by allowing voters to score candidates on a scale from zero to five. The two highest-scoring candidates then enter an automatic runoff, where the candidate with the majority of higher scores wins.

"STAR Voting offers a simpler, more intuitive approach that ensures every vote truly counts," Frohnmayer emphasized.

Despite facing significant opposition, including a recent setback in Eugene, Oregon, where an opposition campaign influenced voters against STAR Voting, Frohnmayer remains undeterred.

"Big changes take time," he acknowledged, noting that even established systems like rank-choice voting took decades to gain traction. "The speed at which STAR Voting has built momentum and enthusiasm speaks to its potential as a reform."

Frohnmayer's dedication to electoral reform is driven by a deep-seated belief in the need for a fairer, more representative system.

"Our national political problem is this hyper-divided, special-interest-dominated landscape," he argued. "We persist at our peril if we don't address these fundamental flaws."

As we continue to navigate the complexities of electoral reform, it is vital to consider diverse perspectives and innovative solutions. Mark Frohnmayer's work with STAR Voting is a testament to the power of entrepreneurial thinking applied to public policy.

Whether or not STAR Voting becomes the new standard, Frohnmayer's efforts have already succeeded in challenging conventional wisdom and pushing for a more equitable voting system.

In the ever-evolving world of electoral reform, there is indeed a new sheriff in town. Mark Frohnmayer's journey from gaming to governance highlights the importance of innovative thinking in tackling our most pressing democratic challenges.

His story serves as a reminder that progress often comes from those willing to challenge the status quo and envision a better future.

I am reminded of what one of my mentors once told me: If you only talk with people you 100% agree with or align with, you will soon find yourself in a room by yourself.

John Quick is a seasoned entrepreneur and a former regional director for Samaritan's Purse. He's also known as chief implementor and red tape cutter. Read John Quick's Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Whether or not STAR Voting becomes the new standard, Frohnmayer's efforts have already succeeded in challenging conventional wisdom and pushing for a more equitable voting system.
elections, voting
Thursday, 23 May 2024 08:57 AM
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