Richard Winger: Straight-Ticket Devices Likely to Vanish in New Mexico, North Carolina, and Wisconsin

From an article published June 11th, 2011, on BallotAccess.org:

Straight-ticket devices have been repealed, or are likely to be eliminated, in three states this year. On May 25, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed AB 7, an omnibus election law bill that eliminates the device. On June 8, the North Carolina Senate passed SB 411 by a vote of 30-17; that bill repeals the device. And, the current New Mexico Secretary of State, Diana Duran, has let it be known that she will eliminate the device from the 2012 general election ballot. New Mexico’s eletion laws do not authorize the device, but past Secretaries of State have placed it on general election ballots anyway.

Straight-ticket devices injure independent candidates, and they also injure minor party candidates for lower-ticket offices such as state legislature and partisan county office. Ben Manski, Green Party nominee for the Wisconsin legislature last year, actually won his election when one only looks at ballots in which voters did not use the straight-ticket device. But when the ballots of voters who did use it are included, he lost.

Assuming the North Carolina bill is signed into law, in 2012 the only states that will still use straight-ticket devices are: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. States that have repealed the device in the last 15 years (in addition to the states already mentioned) include Illinois and Missouri. Bills to repeal the device have been introduced repeatedly in Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia, but they never pass.

Read the original article here.

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