End of straight-ticket vote could mean more incomplete ballots
A federal court last month scuttled the state’s voter ID requirement but ignored what political professionals say could affect this November’s election more than anything — the elimination of straight-ticket voting.
Straight-ticket voting allows voters to choose all candidates from one party by checking a single box.
It’s popular. During the 2012 presidential election, 56 percent of North Carolinians voted straight-ticket as Democrats cast 1.4 million straight-ticket ballots and Republicans 1.1 million. In a 2013 survey, the Raleigh-based Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling found 68 percent support for straight-ticket voting and 21 percent opposition. PPP found Democrats and Republicans supported it almost identically.
But in 2013, North Carolina lawmakers eliminated straight-ticket voting while passing the Republican-backed election revisions law. On July 29, when the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down parts of the election revisions including the voter ID requirement, it didn’t touch the straight-ticket elimination. The change wasn’t challenged in that case.Steve Greene, an N.C. State University political science professor, predicts the election will see what pollsters call down-ballot “fatigue” — in which voters leave selections unmarked.
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