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Straight Ticket Voting

Straight Ticket Voting States

5/23/2014

votingStraight-ticket voting (also called straight-party voting) allows voters to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot marking.  Voters make one punch or mark on the ballot in order to vote for every candidate of that party for each office on the ballot.

A total of 14 states presently offer straight-ticket voting (STV).  With a few exceptions, the straight-ticket option is available in all elections, including primaries, and applies to all offices on the ticket, including federal, state and local races.  The states with STV are:         

 

State State

Alabama

Oklahoma

Indiana

Pennsylvania

Iowa

Rhode Island (3)

Kentucky

South Carolina

Michigan

Texas

New Jersey (1)

Utah

New Mexico (2)

West Virginia

 

1. In New Jersey, straight-ticket voting is available only in primary elections.

2. The New Mexico secretary of state has decided not to offer a straight-ticket option in the November 2012 election. While it has historically been offered by tradition, it is not required by the state statutes or constitution.

3. In Rhode Island, straight-ticket voting is available only in general elections.

Recent Legislative Action

STV has been declining in popularity over the past decade.  At least three states did away with it, and a fourth nearly did, during the 1990s.  Two more states abolished it in 2006 and 2007, followed by Wisconsin in 2011.

Georgia – abolished STV in 1994.  Some Democrats in Georgia advocate reinstating it on the basis of several studies that have shown losses for Democrats, particularly among African American voters, since it was abolished.

Illinois – abolished STV in 1997.  It was a highly partisan battle in Illinois, with the Republican legislature and governor abolishing STV on the last day before the new legislature took office in January 1997.  The argument eventually wound up in the Illinois Supreme Court, which in 1998 refused to reverse the decision to abolish STV.

Michigan – attempted to abolish STV in 2001 with the passage of SB 173.  However, voters repealed the law in the 2002 election after the issue was petitioned on to the statewide ballot.

Missouri – abolished STV in 2006 as part of legislation mandating photo ID to vote.

New Hampshire – abolished STV in 2007.

North Carolina – abolished STV in 2014 as part of 2013 legislation (HB 589).

South Dakota – abolished STV in 1996.  South Dakota’s action was bipartisan, with substantial majorities of both parties in the legislature approving the elimination of STV.

Wisconsin – abolished STV in 2011, effective for November 2012 elections. STV will remain available for UOCAVA voters.

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