Gov. Greg Abbott recently resolved the future of straight-ticket voting in Texas when he signed a bill to eliminate the option, but the impact of the new law on future elections is far from certain. “It’s a fairly audacious move by Republicans,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones. “They may or may not benefit. They really don’t know.” Green Party and Libertarian Party members testified during a House hearing in favor of doing away with straight-ticket voting, while Texas Democrats strongly favor continuing the practice.Full Article: Texas joins majority in losing straight-ticket voting | News | itemonline.com.
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Gov. Greg Abbott signed a new voter ID bill into law Thursday, loosening identification requirements from a 2011 law that a federal judge said was enacted by Republicans to intentionally discriminate against minority voters, who tend to vote for Democrats. Senate Bill 5 will allow registered voters who lack a photo ID to cast a ballot after showing documents that list their name and address, including a voter registration certificate, utility bill, bank statement, government check or work paycheck. Such voters would have to sign a “declaration of reasonable impediment” stating that they could not acquire a photo ID due to a lack of transportation, lack of a birth certificate, work schedule, disability, illness, family responsibility, or lost or stolen ID.Full Article: Abbott signs voter ID, end of straight-party voting into law.
A bill was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott last week that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in Texas. But opponents say the legislation could be headed to court. Texas is one of 10 states that provide the option of voting for one party straight down the ballot. Proponents say it makes voting easier and reduces wait times at the polls. Critics say it makes voters less engaged with down-ballot local races. According to a study from Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies, straight-ticket voting made up nearly two-thirds of votes cast in the 2016 election. … Erin Lunceford, a Republican who also ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship in Harris County, called herself a “poster child for why straight-ticket voting is bad for Texas.” “It results in the election of less qualified, experienced judges,” she told a hearing on House Bill 25.Full Article: Will Abolishing Straight-Ticket Voting Encourage Voter Engagement Or Stifle Turnout? | KUT.
The Texas Senate gave initial approval Wednesday to legislation that would eliminate straight-ticket voting in all elections. By a vote of 20-10, senators passed House Bill 25 over objections from Democrats who warned of unintended consequences — including a disproportionate impact on minority voters. “Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying to dilute the vote of Democrats and, more specifically, minorities,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.Full Article: Texas Senate approves ban on straight-ticket voting | The Texas Tribune.
Texas: Although Texas leads nation in straight-ticket voting, bill to eliminate it gains traction | San Antonio Express-News
Texas is on the verge of eliminating straight-ticket voting, which supporters say would force voters to pay attention to every race on a ballot but critics say could decrease turnout and put the state at risk of yet another civil rights lawsuit. “I disagree that (straight-ticket voting) is a right, I believe it is an option,” said Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, author of House Bill 25. “I believe this will provide better candidates, better elected officials and I do not believe it will harm voting down the ballot.” Statewide, 63 percent of Texas voters cast straight-ticket ballots during the November general elections, according to Texas Election Source, a non-partisan data-driven public policy group. In Bexar County, the figure was 57 percent with 340,847 voters casting straight ticket ballots for either all Republicans, all Democrats, all Libertarians or all Green Party candidates out of a total of 598,691 votes cast. Forty percent of all straight ticket ballots were for the Republican Party; 57 percent went to the Democrats.Full Article: Although Texas leads nation in straight-ticket voting, bill to eliminate it gains traction - San Antonio Express-News.
Texas: With Bill to Abolish Straight-Ticket Voting, Is Texas Hurtling Toward Another Civil Rights Lawsuit? | Observer
A bill advancing through the Legislature that would drastically change how the majority of Texas voters cast ballots could embroil the state in yet another voting discrimination lawsuit, critics say. House Bill 25 would abolish “straight-ticket” voting, the “one-punch” option at the top of Texas ballots that allows voters to simultaneously cast a vote for all the candidates of a single political party. Backed by conservative leadership, the bill would slow down the voting process for a majority of the state electorate: 63 percent of Texas voters used the straight-ticket option in the 2016 presidential election, according to Texas Elections Source. Voters would still be able to cast ballots for all the candidates of one party, but HB 25 would make voters select them one by one. The proposal passed the House over the weekend and will be considered by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee Thursday.Full Article: With Bill to Abolish Straight-Ticket Voting, Is Texas Hurtling Toward Another Civil Rights Lawsuit?.
Editorials: Loss of Texas straight-ticket voting will force down-ballot candidates to change strategies | Gromer Jeffers Jr./Dallas Morning News
Straight-party voting in Texas is on the way out — for now. A bill outlawing the popular practice sailed through the House and is expected to win easy approval in the Senate. If one-punch voting goes away, voters will be asked to wade through ballots containing numerous candidates, many of them obscure. In 2014, Dallas County had more than 100 candidates on a single ballot. So, many voters chose to cast a single vote for all the candidates from the party of their choice. Repealing straight-ticket voting won’t have much impact on races at the top of the ballot. Voters across the state are generally aware and somewhat informed about the high-profile contests for governor and Senate. Even races like district attorney and county judge are in the minds of most voters.Full Article: Loss of Texas straight-ticket voting will force down-ballot candidates to change strategies | Commentary | Dallas News.
The Texas House late Saturday gave final approval to a bill that would eliminate “one-punch” voting, forcing voters to make an individual decision on every ballot item, starting with the 2020 election. House Bill 25, approved 88-57, could drastically change Texas politics considering straight-ticket ballots accounted for almost 64 percent of total votes cast in the state’s 10 largest counties in 2016. Forty-one states don’t allow straight-ticket voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The final vote fell largely on partisan lines; only three Democrats voted for it, while only seven Republicans voted to keep one-punch voting.Full Article: Bill to abolish “one-punch” voting approved in Texas House | The Texas Tribune.
The Texas House has approved a bill eliminating straight-ticket voting statewide. Sponsored by Carrollton Republican Rep. Ron Simmons, the measure passed Saturday despite objections from outnumbered Democrats. It now heads to the state Senate. The idea has been endorsed by House Speaker Joe Straus, who, before he was elected to his current post once filed legislation prohibiting voters from choosing a party’s full slate of candidates with just a single ballot marking.
The push to eliminate one-punch voting in Texas is once again alive. A bill proposed by Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carollton, was voted out of the House Elections Committee Monday evening, 5-2, and will face debate on the House floor. Texas is one of nine states nationally that currently still offers this option to voters on election days. This style of voting has become a popular topic of contention among statewide officeholders because of its nature to vote out less popular office holders with partisan trends. When Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick served in the state Senate, he was one of the leaders behind this charge.Full Article: Effort advances to eliminate straight-party voting in Texas | Community Impact Newspaper.
The Republican-controlled House on Thursday approved a voter identification bill, despite criticism from Democrats that the measure would suppress voter turnout among minorities, the elderly and the disabled. The bill by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate would make several changes to Iowa’s elections system, though most attention has been on a requirement that voters show approved ID at the polls. The measure is opposed by advocates for easier voting requirements such as the League of Women Voters of Iowa and elections officials including the Iowa State Association of County Auditors. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 34 states had laws in 2016 requesting or requiring voters to show identification at the polls.Full Article: Iowa House GOP passes voter ID bill, sends to Senate | McClatchy DC.
Partisan efficiency experts might love the time-saving charms of straight-ticket voting, but a number of the state’s top elected officials are ready to outlaw the practice. Straight-ticket, or one-punch, voting allows people to cast a ballot for all of one party’s candidates with one pull of the lever, stroke of the pencil or click of the voting button. Its requires partisan faith on the part of a voter, an expression of trust in a party’s primary voters, a conviction that the chosen candidates — no matter who they are, what they’ve done and whether they are qualified — are better than candidates offered by the opposition party. And it makes the coattails of the people at the top of the ballot very, very influential. Just ask a judge. “I will say only a word about judicial selection, but it is a word of warning,” Texas Supreme Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said this week in his State of the Judiciary speech. “In November, many good judges lost solely because voters in their districts preferred a presidential candidate in the other party.”Full Article: Analysis: Rising Criticism Threatens One-Punch Voting In Texas | San Marcos Corridor News.
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus on Wednesday called on his fellow lawmakers to end straight-ticket voting. Straus, R-San Antonio, issued the call in a news release following a speech in which Texas State Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said Texas should end the option for judicial elections. “I agree with Chief Justice Hecht that we should end straight ticket voting in judicial elections, but we shouldn’t stop there,” said Straus, noting that 40 other states do not have the option in any elections.Full Article: Straus calls for end to straight-ticket voting in Texas - Houston Chronicle.
A state lawmaker has filed a bill that would eliminate straight party voting. Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso, is the author of Senate Bill 9. “I think it is unnecessary to have the straight-party option,” Dossett said Monday. “I think it is something that might have had value in the past when people couldn’t inform themselves on the candidate and vote.” Ten states including Oklahoma offer straight-party voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The number of states offering it has been declining in recent years, according to the NCSL. Dossett said it probably benefited Democrats when they were in power and now benefits Republicans. His filing of the measure is not related to the recent elections, Dossett said.Full Article: Bill would eliminate straight-party voting in state - Tulsa World: Homepagelatest.
Michigan Republicans are convinced they ended up benefiting immensely in Tuesday’s election from the straight-ticket voting policy that they have been determined to eliminate. They credit presidential candidate Donald Trump’s strength in Macomb County and the preservation of straight-ticket voting for helping them capture three countywide posts held by Democrats. The straight-ticket effect is a twist of irony after a prominent Macomb County Democrat waged a legal battle to keep the voting option on the ballot. A Republican-backed state law banning straight-ticket voting was suspended by a federal judge for this election because it likely would cause voter confusion, but the fight to protect it was seen as a maneuver to help Trump’s rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton.Full Article: GOP benefits from straight-party voting it opposes.
For faithful Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians in Indiana, voting on Election Day is simple. Walk into the booth and check one box to select every candidate from their party. But beginning this election the straight-ticket option will not include all partisan races. In an effort to clear up confusion, the legislature passed a law earlier this year that requires voters to select each candidate they wish for at-large county council and town council seats. The law does not change how the straight-party ticket functions in any other ballot race. Previously, some voters did not follow ballot instructions when straight ticket voting. Some counties reported ballots where voters selected straight-ticket and then also marked additional at-large candidates. “Voter intent was very ambiguous,” said Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is Indiana’s chief election official. Now, at-large races are treated similarly to the nonpartisan school board races, retention questions for judges and public questions, where voters have always had to individually fill in their ballot after straight-ticket voting.Full Article: Straight-ticket voting change could surprise voters | Politics | NUVO News | Indianapolis, IN.
North Carolina: A federal court struck down much of North Carolina’s voter ID law – but what’s left could still shrink the black vote | The Washington Post
Many voting rights activists breathed a sigh of relief this year when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit overturned numerous provisions of North Carolina’s 2013 election law. The law had instituted a strict voter ID requirement, curtailed the early voting period and eliminated one-stop voting and registration, among other provisions. Critics argued that if the law were fully implemented it would lead to a sharp reduction in voting by racial minorities and younger citizens. The 4th Circuit agreed, saying that the “new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.” On emergency appeal, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4 to 4 on granting a stay, which meant that the 4th Circuit’s decision will stand for the 2016 election. But there is an overlooked yet consequential provision of the law that the court did not strike down: the removal of the straight-ticket option from North Carolina ballots. As in 2014, there will be no such option on the ballot in 2016.Full Article: A federal court struck down much of North Carolina’s voter ID law — but what’s left could still shrink the black vote - The Washington Post.
After a federal judge struck down much of North Carolina’s controversial voter ID law back in July, one provision remained, and it might have the most powerful effect on this November’s election–especially in local races all over the state. The 2013 law eliminated straight-ticket voting, meaning that in the November election, for the first time, you’ll no longer be able to fill out one bubble to vote all-Democrat, or all-Republican. Technically, you’ve always had to fill out two bubbles in North Carolina, since the vote for president has required a separate vote since the 1960s. This provision might lower vote totals, and make for tighter local races on November 8.Full Article: No more straight-ticket option in voting booths this November | WLOS.
Slight changes in election rules are causing consternation among party leaders who fear loyal voters will be confused when casting ballots this fall. A new law says straight-party ballots – cast by 1.5 million Hoosiers in the last two elections – will no longer count in partisan races in which more than one candidate can be chosen. That affects at-large races common at the local level. Though seemingly minor, the change is a huge deal for local party leaders, who say it will confound voters. They also fear the erosion of a practice, dating to the 19th century, of voting for a slate of one party’s candidates with a single punch. Indiana is one of only eight states that still offer the option of straight-party voting. Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas are the others.Full Article: Change to voting law worries major parties | Local News | tribstar.com.
A Democratic representative is asking the legislature to formally undo its recent ban on straight-ticket voting, he said in a press release on Tuesday. Lawmakers passed a ban on straight ticket voting — where voters can select a single option to vote for all Republican or all Democratic candidates — late last year. Gov. Snyder signed the bill in January. But the new law has been embroiled in a lawsuit, and a federal court issued an injunction that blocks it from going into effect. The U.S. Supreme Court last week elected not to stay that order, meaning straight-ticket voting will be an option for Michiganders on November’s ballot. But long-term a full trial, expected to take place within the next year, will determine the law’s fate. In the meantime Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, is urging the legislature to undo the law it just did.Full Article: Michigan lawmaker moves to repeal straight-ticket voting ban | MLive.com.