One of every three Story County voters — 35 percent — and 37 percent of voters statewide voted a straight-party ticket in the 2014 general election, statistics the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office compiled for the first time revealed. In Story County, 6,004 Democrats and 5,346 Republicans voted straight-party tickets, as did 244 residents for the New Independent Party Iowa and 115 for the Libertarian Party. The practice allows voters to fill one oval on the ballot for all of the candidates in one political party. In the county, 11,709 of the total 33,213 voters chose to do so. Straight-party voting played a role in the race for the Story County Board of Supervisors, in which voters could select up to two candidates on their ballots. A second Republican joined the race late, likely damaging independent challenger Lauris Olson’s bid for a seat through straight-party voting. All four contenders publicly encouraged voters not to cast straight-party tickets.
Expect the statewide results to be part of another bid in the 2015 Legislature to eliminate straight-ticket voting. State Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines, said this week he will make a third attempt to pass the straight-ticket ban in the upcoming session that begins Jan. 12. “This is one area where, if we can just take a little bit of partisanship out of the process, I think it serves all Iowans better,” Cownie said.
Republicans benefited most in the mid-term election, with 212,085 straight-ticket ballots accounting for 18.7 percent of all votes cast on Election Day, Nov. 4, and in absentee and early ballots leading up to that day. Most of the Republicans’ ballots were cast on Election Day.