In 2018 over half of the people who voted, voted a straight party ticket. It didn’t matter – Democrats and Republicans alike voted their party rather than for the best, most-qualified candidate.
Pennsylvania is one of nine states that still offers a straight-ticket option on the ballot. Voters can mark their ballots for a particular party, which counts as a vote for a candidate of that party in every race.
Think of that for a moment. Simply because this candidate was affiliated with a party, he/she automatically received votes – sight unseen and issues unheard. Thousands of voters gave a free vote purely on the basis of party affiliation.
Straight-ticket voting only offers convenience. What is gained by this option? Do we save a few seconds? We haven’t become this lazy, as a society, have we?
Straight-ticket voting doesn’t just allow some unfit candidates to get automatic votes. It gives partisans from all major parties a built-in edge over more-qualified candidates, discouraging them from running.
The result is more partisan polarization and less representation in government for voters who aren’t affiliated with a major political party.
Straight-ticket voting is bad for the health of our political system. Abolishing it won’t prevent someone from voting for all candidates of a party. But by requiring them to mark each choice, we can at least be assured that they’ve looked at each race and made a deliberate selection.
I call upon our legislators to eliminate the straight-ticket option, as most other states have sensibly done. Let each ballot choice stand on its own; abolish the straight-ticket option.
And, I call upon our citizens to vote for a candidate based upon qualifications, not party affiliation.