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.
Lunceford told a House committee she was by far the most qualified person for the judgeship and that the only reason she lost to Democrat Fredericka Phillips was because of one-punch voting.
Manny Garcia with the Texas Democratic Party doesn’t see it that way. “She lost because [she ran] against the vice chair of the Texas Democratic Party, who is an African-American who is the African-American community’s candidate of choice,” Garcia said. “[Phillips is] an accomplished lawyer. That’s why [Lunceford] lost.”
Either way, political will was behind Republican efforts to get rid of straight-ticket voting once and for all. And they did it.