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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Bill Tracker: SB 134 - Eliminating Straight Party Voting

(Part 1 of 5 in a symposium on election law)

We often hear people say, "I vote straight ticket." What this means is that on election day, they opt to cast all of their votes for one political party in every race. Straight-Party Voting is quick and simple; however, surprisingly not the norm. Only 17 states allow straight ticket voting.
Even more surprising is that Missouri just eliminated straight ticket voting in 2006.

Sen. Wentworth, R - San Antonio, is bringing the issue to Texas. SB 134 would eliminate the ability to cast a straight-party vote in Texas. When asked about his bill by The Texas Blue, Sen. Wentworth responded, "I believe voters should just see names, instead of mindlessly voting party labels." He continued by stating, "I don't think it's an intelligent way to vote." He concluded, "We should be voting for candidates and not parties."

Optimally, one might think

Optimally, one might think we'd be voting for concepts, behaviours, principles, etc, rather than candidates. Neither the name of a party nor the name of a candidate hold any valuable information about the candidate his/herself to someone who isn't familiar with the name. I think it's a step in the right direction, though, and I find it unfortunate that I'm cynical about its passage. There are probably enough straight ticket voters to carry district and even state-wide incumbents to victory, so I would understand why a room full of incumbents would hesitate to pass the resolution. We'll see, though.

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