Straight-party voting, helpful tool to politicians or voters?
Some in the Republican Party are really reaching now. They are arguing that their party's losses this November were exaggerated by straight-party option voting and they want to do away with it. So does the straight-party option change races or is it nothing more than a time saver for people at the polls? I'd say the latter.
An article in The Hill newspaper runs through a few of the Congressional races this year and looks at the margin of victory to try to determine if straight-party voting accounted for the win or not. It includes the race for the 8th CD between Steven Kagen and John Gard.
In Wisconsin, Green Bay-based Brown County cast more than one-third of the 8th District’s 275,000 votes and saw straight-Democratic voting increase from 7,300 to 14,000. Democrat Steve Kagen wrested the Republican-held open seat by about the same margin.That stat alone doesn't dig deep enough for Wisconsin voters. Wisconsin's split ticket voters have much more impact on the race than straight-party voters. The loss of Kathleen Falk to J.B. Van Hollen for Attorney General versus the win by Dawn Marie Sass over Jack Voight for State Treasurer is proof of that.
There may have been a few extra votes for Dems, but John Gard was going to lose to Steve Kagen with or without the straight-party voting system. Someone like Dawn Marie Sass or someone running for a county clerk position probably benefits from the straight-party voting system, but none of the high-profile congressional races can be explained away by this.
The really telling stat in this article is this one:
On average, about one-third of voters use the option where it is available.One-third is about equal to the hard-core party loyalists that will never vote for the other side. There may be slight increases and decreases once in a while like we saw this year, but the Republicans would have lost Congress even without that voting option.
If they want to think otherwise and not take a hard look at the issues they presented to the voters in this election, that's just fine by me.
You can find the rest of the article here.