Removing straight party voting in Indiana - SB146

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

Hi-tech voting technologyIndiana Senator Mike Delph from District 29 has introduced Senate Bill 146 which would remove the option of straight party ticket voting from Indiana election ballots.  As Doug Masson notes, this change would probably favor the Republican party in most districts.

I think straight party ticket ballots generally only do a disservice to Indiana voters.

At best, it enables a kind of impulsive loyalty to a vague label that can mean very different things to different people.

At worst, it facilitates voter ignorance, allowing good candidates to be glossed over while other candidates are voted in based on affiliation instead of qualification.  (I was surprised in my own limited experience as a candidate how many people in Richmond said they thought I was probably a better person for the job than some of those running in their own party, but wouldn't vote for me because of my party affiliation on the ballot.)  And as Doug mentions, political parties aren't a concept that the state or federal Constitutions help us navigate very well, so baking them into our electoral process doesn't seem quite right.

If someone wants to vote only for candidates of a particular political party, that's fine, but let it be because they've researched who those candidates are and what they stand for, and then made their choices well in advance of election day.  And if this change to election law hurts Democrats because Democrats were winning on party loyalty alone, then so be it; that's a problem for the party and its candidates to take up with voters.

2 thoughts on “Removing straight party voting in Indiana - SB146

  1. A nice parallel improvement would to make sure the ever changing property tax deadlines are always just BEFORE an election. Perhaps this would motivate more citizens to VOTE, although one can only speculate what group would gain.

  2. I think it is odd that some people think that Republicans would benefit from this change. Charlie White may not have been elected as Secretary of State had this law been in effect in 2010. White is a Republican, and my guess is that he won the election due to straight-ticket voting in the 2010 elections.

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