Equal Vote Coalition’s mission statement is not about STAR, it’s about maximizing the five pillars of a good voting method. Most cardinal methods, hybrid methods, and some Condorcet methods meet our basic criteria for being supportable. Equal Vote has been the spearhead for initiatives for Approval Voting (before STAR was invented) and STAR Voting to date.
Approval Voting is mathematically “Equal” and is very simple, but sacrifices honesty and expressiveness, so while we support it -we hope that advocates are successful- it’s not the end all for our mission.
Where we agree with CES is that in terms of advocacy it’s important to have a single answer to the question of what voting method should we adopt. In our case we recommend a single ballot type (0-5) with variations for single-winner, multi-winner, and proportional elections.
CES’s mission statement used to promote cardinal rated methods, but they have recently moved to supporting just Approval.
On stepping stones: My personal opinion is that most people are MUCH more comfortable comparing the current system with ONE alternative at a time. Others like to get into the weeds and learn everything they can to make an educated decision. For that reason I recommend a community led process with interested individuals over time to learn about voting methods and build consensus around a reform well before launching an initiative. Once the interested folks have done that work they are trained to advocate for the system they chose.
Adopting a “stepping stone reform” which is problematic -like IRV- or which is not the ultimate goal isn’t an effective tactic in my opinion and makes people less likely to consider the final proposal. I think this has already been well demonstrated with places that have adopted Top-2. I’m sure a great campaign could overcome, but it’d be harder and more confusing then starting with a clean slate.
One of the hardest questions we get in the field is “why is STAR better than IRV?” Answering requires explaining what’s wrong with IRV and also what’s great about STAR in one paragraph or less to people without the vocabulary or foundation to follow what you are saying. It’s confusing if rushed though, but people want it fast and they want to get all the details as well. Comparing STAR to the current system is a lot easier.