One of the House Republicans’ key priorities is an election bill filed Thursday that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in the general election. Under current law, voters can automatically choose all Democrat, Republican or Libertarian candidates with one click or mark of the ballot. But House Bill 1008 would require voters to choose a candidate specifically for each office. The legislation is being carried by Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion, at the request of House GOP leadership. “As we revolutionize elections and technology continues to creep into the way we campaign and the information available to voters, it’s clear folks are looking at candidates rather than party affiliation,” he said. “We don’t put donkeys and elephants on our signs anymore.” Only 12 states allow or offer straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. It has been declining in popularity over the past decade.
Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said both parties at different times have opposed and supported straight-ticket voting. He conceded that in certain localities, it might be a strategic advantage. “We think it best that voters are informed and vote for the person and don’t just check a box,” Bosma said. “We’ll see. It’ll be a long discussion for both parties in both chambers.” He said some Republican Party county chairs like the proposal and some don’t.
Allen County GOP Chairman Steve Shine is one who is not in favor of the proposal. He said no bureaucrat or elected official should limit the options available for voters.