The fuss over straight-party ballots



We’ve heard a lot lately about the elimination of the straightparty ballot in the upcoming Nov. 6 election. A straight-party ballot is where a voter goes into the polls and checks one box to vote for all of the candidates in one party.

The move has caused an uproar among many people. Some say the elimination of straight-party voting is racist because it would disproportionately affect black residents and increase the time it would take them to vote in districts where lines may already be long.

Proponents of the ban on straight-party ballots say it encourages voters to educate themselves about the candidates so they can make a more informed choice. One argument against straight-ticket is it keeps voters from thinking critically about all the candidates on the ballot and encourages partisan polarization.

For me personally, straight-party ballots are a non-issue. I always split my ticket. I have voted for years picking the candidates I agree with, not the one’s a political party encourages me to vote for.

I’m not sure taking the right to vote straight-ticket is the best way to handle the issue, but I do agree people need to put more thought into who they vote for. If you’re rubber-stamping your ballot for all the candidates in one party, are you really considering who and what you’re voting for, or are you just towing the party line?

Officials are predicting longer lines and waits at the polls Nov. 4 due to the ban on straight-party ballots. Yes, you may have to wait longer to vote in this election, so give yourself plenty of time. Don’t let long lines discourage you from getting out and voting.

Mid-term elections, like this one, typically don’t draw many voters — only 42 percent of registered Americans came out to vote in the last midterms. That’s the lowest voter turnout since 1978. But officials said this election is expected to be different. The strong political polarization in the country has officials thinking there will be a strong showing at the polls.

One man, one vote is the bedrock of democracy, but far too few citizens even bother to cast their first ballot. I urge all registered voters to get out to the polls Nov. 4 and exercise their right to vote. It is not only our right as American citizens, but it’s our duty. We should not take the right to vote for granted, because in some places in this world individuals can’t vote, or their vote doesn’t count.

So don’t let the potential for long lines or delays at the polls keep you from getting out and casting your ballot. Make sure you vote Nov. 6 and make your voice heard.

Gary Gould is the managing editor of the View Newspapers. Contact him at 810-452- 2650 or email

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