Texas State Representative Joe Straus (R-Alamo Heights) is proposing a measure in the Texas House that would ban straight-ticket voting. Texas is currently one of 17 states that provides this option on the ballot.
From WOAI out of San Antonio:
State Rep. Joe Straus, Jr. (R-Alamo Heights) says walking into the voting both and simply voting for a party and not for individual candidates is a lazy way out.
“It only takes about two minutes to go race by race, I timed it in the voting booth myself,” Straus said.”If we don’t have two minutes one day every two years, then we have some fundamental problems that need to be addressed.”
Straus’ measure comes as many local Republicans in down ballot races are complaining they lost their seats due to straight ticket votes cast by voters who had no knowledge of their qualifications or their accomplishments.
The article goes on to state that about half of the ballots cast in Bexar county were straight-ticket, and of the straight-ticket ballots cast 56% of those were for the Democrats. Already, liberal bloggers in the Lone Star State are lining up to defend straight-ticket voting while local conservative bloggers are in favor of the ban.
I personally support the ban on the grounds that the voters wield great power in our democracy, and therefore people should at least take the time to look at the names of the candidates they are voting for. Even though I may not want to vote for a Democrat, I also may not want to vote for their Republican opponent either for a variety of reasons. I may feel that a certain Republican candidate lacks character or qualifications. Blindly casting a ballot for my party of preference could put somebody in office who may cause the next scandal or some other harm to society. This could have repercussions beyond the damage that it would do to the Republican party.
I certainly respect dissenting opinions and there should be debate on the matter. But we should look beyond what benefits our party in the short-term, and do what is best for our democracy.