February 23, 2015

IowaWatch Connection: Straight Ticket Voting

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More than one of every three Iowans voted a straight party ticket in last November’s election. Now, some in the legislature are trying to eliminate the practice altogether.

Iowa is one of 12 states allowing straight ticket voting, where, instead of casting a vote in each partisan race, a voter fills in one oval at the top of the ballot to cast a vote for members of one political party.

“Political parties in many states perceive straight ticket voting as a positive thing, especially for those offices that are down the ballot a ways,”said Christopher Budzisz, a Loras College politics professor and director of the Loras College Poll.

“They see it as votes that they can bank on, that they can count on. These are people who, if they are willing to vote straight ticket, will be supporting the party throughout.”

But others criticize the practice for possibly contributing to under voting, where voters skip the rest of the ballot where votes for ballot initiatives, local township officers and judge retention are sought.

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