Straight-Ticket Voting Supported

Editor, News-Register:

Why is it that so many state legislators seem to be obsessed with changing the rules governing voting?

Legislators in Pennsylvania and Michigan are trying to change how electors are chosen in order to ensure that Republicans get at least half of the electoral votes even if they get substantially less than half of the people’s votes. In Virginia, they are again changing ID requirements in order to suppress voting. Here in West Virginia, some legislators now want to take away our option to vote a straight party ticket in the most efficient way possible – by casting one vote clearly labeled as a vote for all of the named party’s candidates.

Delegate Ryan Ferns and the co-sponsors of his bill seem to think that those of us who exercise the option to use the straight ticket option are not sufficiently educated as to who is running or how well qualified they are. I resent their making such an assumption. There are many highly informed voters who are strong partisans and who simply exercise their most efficient option. Going page by page and office by office simply wastes our time and makes other voters wait longer to cast their votes when the polling place is very busy.

I have always believed that one owes the candidate he chooses for the top job at a given level of governance the support he will need from those occupying offices below him. It makes no sense at all to vote for someone for mayor or governor or president and then vote for legislators who will vote against the executive officer’s agenda. Most often, that is a candidate of a different party. Granted, sometimes a party’s nominee for an office makes it clear that he does not support the party platform or the candidate at the top of his party’s ticket. I do not vote for those candidates and thus, in those elections, I do not use the straight party ticket option.

The point is, it is the voter’s choice to either vote in the manner most efficient for the entire slate or to vote for candidates on an office by office. I see no reason why legislators ought to take away that choice because they think they know better than we do how we should vote.

It’s time for state legislators in this state and others to stop changing voting rules. Every change in at least the past five years has made things worse for voters rather than better.

Grace Norton