About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Dent Takes Aim at Straight Party Voting

It's called the "People Before Party" Act, and obviously is aimed at the growing partisanship among Democrats and Republicans. Charlie Dent is nominally a Republican and Jim Matheson is nominally a Democrat, but I'd call them members of the grown-up party in Congress. They have introduced a measure to eliminate straight-party voting nationwide. A person can still vote for all Democrats or all Republicans, but will have to vote individually. Dent, a centrist who co-chairs the Tuesday Group, released this statement:

“One of the greatest frustrations my constituents share with me is the excessive partisan bickering in our political system. There is no easy fix to this problem, but one solution could be to strengthen participation in our voting system by doing away with single-ticket voting.

“Pennsylvania is one of only a small number of states that still gives primacy to the power of political parties over the voters’ right to make candidate by candidate decisions. This manner of voting discourages voters from making an honest evaluation of each candidate on his or her individual merits and encourages an all-or-nothing decision based purely on party affiliation.

"For this reason, I have joined with my Democrat colleague Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28) to introduce the People Before Party Act, that would end straight-ticket voting in federal elections. Individuals who wish to vote a straight party line may certainly continue to do so, but they should not be offered a short-cut or a one-touch workaround from the need to consider their vote for each individual candidate and for each office. This bill will empower voters to elect thoughtful leaders and reduce the power of the parties.”

According to Dent, the nine states that currently allow straight-ticket voting are Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Michigan did away with the practice earlier this year, West Virginia and Rhode Island abolished it last year, and North Carolina ended straight-ticket voting in 2014. The Hill reports that there are actually 15 states that still permit straight party voting.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Show some real political courage and support authentic democracy by giving the electorate a "NONE OF THE ABOVE" option, Congressman Dent.

Anonymous said...

Another government type in one of the worst Gerrymandered districts in the country attempting to dictate how people vote? Stay out of my voting booth Charlie. You're all about privacy when it comes to slaughtering the unborn. Yet, you want to come into my voting booth and start making rules. Fuck you, facist.

Anonymous said...

Unnecessary and will lead to longer lines to vote.

Anonymous said...

Longer lines?
You must be kidding!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm an R who pulls the lever every other year Charlie is not running.

Anonymous said...

He's a "fascist" for attempting to be less partisan? And how does the elimination of a check box for straight party voting affect your privacy? And what does that have to do with abortions?

This kind of reaction truly proves the inadequacy of our educational system as well as the decline in civility that partisan politics has caused.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Charlie. More gop voters have had it with people /criminals like you, McConnell, Ryan, McCain, Grahamnesty, Rubio, Romney , Bush and so on. You will see more gop votes flee from this disgusting party asap. Get out of our lives you scumbag and stay out of the voting booth.

Anonymous said...

Now imagine if they took the (D) and (R) away from the names on the ballot. Why you'd need mental health councilors and a big bottle of Xanax for all the people freaking out not knowing what to do.

Anonymous said...

@4:47,
NONE OF THE ABOVE exists. It's called "write-in".

Anonymous said...

This is a good start, but it should be eliminated totally, not just in
Presidential elections. We need open primaries, too.

Anonymous said...

8:03 AM provides an excellent way to help get out of the "mess" our nation is in!

Without a party label attached, a candidate (originally imagined to be a PUBLIC servant) could be evaluated solely on what he/she truly believes. The candidate, and eventual officeholder, could perform their duties without FEAR of having to do what their party boss requires of them. The individual politician would not feel pressured into "going along to get along" in order to get some committee assignment or larger office space.

Without a party label, a politician can be true to oneself. He/she can be less influenced by financial donors who help pay to KEEP them in office. The only folks they need to answer to for "staying power" in government are the common, everyday citizens back home. Yes, representatives NOW in office are nervous. The people back home are speaking out and calling attention to how all of this really works, and probably COULD work better.

I believe most of us perform better under pressure. Our true character is revealed.
This election cycle is GOOD for America.

To Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, and others, I say "LET IT RIP!"

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

I assume dent figures he will get more democratic votes this way. He could get even more my simply registering as a democrat, whose policies he closely mirrors. Only trouble is it will now be easier for republicans to skip him when voting starts. watch his primary numbers compared to Trump in April. I predict a message will be sent.

Anonymous said...

How about fixing the REAL problem, Charlie? Tackle gerrymandering. No, that's what keeps you in office, right?

What a disgrace.

Bernie O'Hare said...



This hate is scary.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"He's a "fascist" for attempting to be less partisan? And how does the elimination of a check box for straight party voting affect your privacy? And what does that have to do with abortions?

This kind of reaction truly proves the inadequacy of our educational system as well as the decline in civility that partisan politics has caused."


It is simply amazing.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"
Longer lines?
You must be kidding!!!


Under two of the false identities used by Panto, he starts off a lot of comments with that expression. Please try to use another expression.

Anonymous said...

What a quandary voters face! Our once unified, freedom-loving, sovereign nation is dissolving away right before our eyes.

Leaders of BOTH major parties, everyone currently IN elected office, our traditional sources for news, foreign nations, and all the corporate jet owners meeting now on Sea Island are saying,

"Don't look at me!"

What's a lowly guy to do? I'm going on vacation from posting. Applaud, if needed.

Fred Windish

Sezary said...

Wow! Haters gonna hate, I guess. I agree, there is a lack of civility and discourse. This certainly does not help or accomplish anything. Anyway...

I have searched for the "People Before Party Act" on several sites and have not been successful. Is there a bill number? Printer's number? More info? Thanks!

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's H.R. 4679, the People Before Party Act of 2016, and I linked to a story about it at The Hill.

Anonymous said...

I think the anger and hate is a reaction to any politician, not least all, one in a very safely Gerrymandered Congressional district, deigning to tell people how they may vote. The pitchfork and torch brigade has been created by go-along-get-along politicians like Dent. They're incapable of understanding that many view them as the problem, and not the solution. I wonder how long he'd continue to waltz to re-election as the "Lehigh Valley's Congressman" if his district was actually in the Lehigh Valley, rather than tortuously winding through Berks County; all the way to Hershey Park? I suspect he'd be replaced by the nearest Democrat one could find.

Anonymous said...

You really wan to reform all this. Allow open primaries were Independents can shake things up. Will never happen. The star chamber comprised of leaders of both Parties will stop that before it ever gains traction. They know the system is rigged nationally for them and they will stop at nothing to keep it that way.

Too little of a show of nothing Charlie.

George Ruth said...

Just to opposite, 2:56. A political party is an organization that should form its own rules. first rule should be only 'members' can vote in primaries. The sainted 'independents' can form a Independent Party. This nonsense about Dems screwing up Republican primaries and vice versa is stupid. Remember, the US Constitution (remember that?) makes NO mention of political parties. The founds were counting on the 'people' to organize as they wished.

Anonymous said...

Fuck the corrupt two party system, Mr. Ruth.

George Ruth said...

Just think about all the morons to 'early voted' in these primaries who now have to live with votes they wish they had back. I don't like early voting except for military and international travelers. And let's never go to internet voting....a scandal waiting to happen.

PS to Mr. obnoxious 10:24....I made no mention of 'two parties'. I don't care how many parties there are. However, each should protect the integrity of their own primary.

The Central Scrutinizer said...

This kind of reaction truly proves the inadequacy of our educational system as well as the decline in civility that partisan politics has caused."

Lack of civility? The Repubs call this "political correctness". They are on a mission to kill it - in other words, they are on a mission to return to the days where you could be an asshole in public and no one called you on it. The lack of civility in politics really started with the witch hunt of President Clinton and reached a crescendo when Repubs applauded the asshole who yelled "You lie!" at the President of the United States during a state of the union address.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Based on the most recent GOP presidential debate, it's safe to say that there's a new crescendo.