Eliminating straight-ticket voting's effect on area residents - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Eliminating straight-ticket voting's effect on area residents

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Amarillo, Texas - The convenience of straight-ticket voting could one day no longer be an option in Texas. Three Texas politicians are seeking to end or limit straight-ticket voting. Texas is one of only 14 states that still allow it.

"There's two bills out there. One that would completely take away the straight-party voting, the other would take away the straight-party voting in local offices," Knoxie Mathes, Potter County Election Administrator says.

We asked how this would effect voters in our area. The number of panhandle residents who utilize straight-ticket voting is high. More than half of voters in Randall County used this option during November's election. Even more people voted this way in Potter County.

"In the 2012 general election we had maybe about 15 to 16 thousand that vote straight party out of 26 thousand that actually voted," Mathes says.

Straight-ticket has been a way to make time spent at the polls short and easy. But with this legislation, that could change and add confusion for voters, especially if limiting straight voting.

"Because of the fact they would think that they are voting straight party it would cover everybody on the ballot. There would be a lot of instructions involved, and so that would be a little bit harder on the voter than to have total straight party taken off of the ballot," Mathes says.

Representative Dan Branch from Dallas whose proposal eliminates straight-ticket says the most important base unit of democracy needs to be protected from coercion and laziness.

Republican Party of Potter County chairman, Tonya Denton, says although she agrees voters should be educated on candidates, she is a supporter of keeping straight-ticket voting. Over on the democratic side, the feelings were mutual.

"People don't like change. It will discourage some people. They want to go up there and vote and get through with it. Just like when the new voting machines came out, some people didn't go vote because they didn't want to get embarrassed," Gentry Powell, Democratic Party of Potter County Chairman says.

These proposal are still currently seeking state legislature approval.

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