Straight-ticket voting (also called straight-party voting) allows voters to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot mark. Voters make one mark or selection on the ballot in order to vote for every candidate of that party for each partisan office on the ballot.
In 2020, a total of 7 states will allow or offer straight-ticket voting (STV). With a few exceptions, the straight-ticket option is available in all general elections, and applies to all partisan offices on the ticket, including federal, state and local races.
The states with STV are: Alabama, Indiana*, Michigan, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah.
*Senate bill 61 in 2016 abolished straight ticket voting for at-large races only.
Recent Legislative or State Action
The number of states offering straight ticket voting has been declining in popularity over time. Every year several bills are introduced to eliminate it, and occasionally bills are introduced to establish straight ticket voting.
Pennsylvania - abolished STV in 2019 (SB 421) but the law did not impact the November 2019 election. In 2020 there will not be an STV option.
Michigan – abolished STV in 2016 (SB 13). In July 2016, a U.S. District Court decision found the abolishment of STV disportionally affected African-Americans and placed a preliminary injunction on enforcing the law for the 2016 election. In September 2018 the U.S. Sixth Court of Appeals said plaintiffs were unlikely to win their appeal and ordered the ban to take effect. The plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which denied a request to keep STV for the 2018 general election, so it was not an option for that election. However, voters passed Ballot Proposal 3 in November 2018 that amended the constitution allowing voters to cast a straight-ticket vote for all candidates of a particular political party when voting in a partisan general election, thus reestablishing STV in the state.
New Mexico – the legislature abolished STV in 2001. From 2002 to 2010, secretaries of state had administratively placed it on the ballot. In 2012, the secretary of state decided not to offer a straight-ticket option, noting that it had been repealed by the legislature. An attempt was made in the 2012 legislature to reinstate it, but it failed. In 2018 the secretary of state attempted to resinstate STV, but a petition to prevent its use was approved by the state supreme court.
Iowa - abolished STV in 2017 (HB 516).
Texas - abolished STV in 2017 (HB 25), effective in 2020.
Indiana - abolished STV for at-large races in 2016 (SB 61).
Rhode Island – abolished STV in 2015 as part of 2014 legislation (HB 8072).
West Virginia – abolished STV in 2015 (SB 249).
North Carolina – abolished STV in 2014 as part of 2013 legislation (HB 589).
Wisconsin – abolished STV in 2011, effective for November 2012 elections. STV will remain available for UOCAVA voters.
New Hampshire – abolished STV in 2007.
Missouri – abolished STV in 2006.
Illinois – abolished STV in 1997.
South Dakota – abolished STV in 1996.
Georgia – abolished STV in 1994.