Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Dent Takes Aim at Straight Party Voting
“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.