LTE: Straight Party Voting

Dear Editor:

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.

Dennis Biancuzzo


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