Straight-line ticket voting has no place in system

May 22, 2017 at 2:36 p.m.
Updated May 23, 2017 at 1 a.m.

Elizabeth Menchaca, 35, holds John Dylan Harper, 11 months, before casting her vote during Election Day in 2016 at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center.

Elizabeth Menchaca, 35, holds John Dylan Harper, 11 months, before casting her vote during Election Day in 2016 at the Dr. Pattie Dodson Public Health Center.   Ana Ramirez for The Victoria Advocate

Editor, the Advocate:

Recent articles in the Victoria Advocate disclosed that the Texas House and Senate have approved a bill that will ban straight-line ticket voting, and if members of the lower chamber approve the Senate's changes, the bill will be sent to the governor for his signature.

It should be obvious that eliminating straight-line ticket voting will provide a more equitable system, as all candidates will receive individual voter consideration. This will reduce the problem of qualified candidates being overlooked due to their party identity. Also, in elections that feature ballot propositions not subject to partisan choices, many voters forgo voting on important local issues. Since straight-line ticket voting is used widely in Texas, and it is one of very few states still allowing this archaic voting system, it is time for a change.

So why does Texas still have straight-line ticket voting? The answer is "politics," as both political parties use it to secure more votes for all their candidates. However, it is the Democrats who gain the most votes using this system, and they are the main opponent to the bill. Their reasons for opposing the new bill are nonsensical and self-serving.

Some of the Democrats' objections are: It will take too much time to make individual voting decisions; the bill would disenfranchise the elderly and minority voters; Democrats warned of unintended consequences, including a disproportionate impact on minority votes; and it would lead to long lines at polling places.

Let's discuss the real reason for Democratic opposition - which is to prevent the possible dilution of Democratic minority voters. They don't want minorities and others to use their due diligence in addressing all candidates and then selecting the best qualified, regardless of party identity. Democratic opposition to the bill is self-serving, manipulative and, in my opinion, racially motivated.

Although voting is one of America's treasured rights, it should not be taken lightly. All voters should do their due diligence in addressing all candidates' qualifications, regardless of party identity.

Straight-line ticket voting has no legitimate place in our voting system.

Allen J. Novosad, Edna


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