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Free Minds & Free Markets

Send the Straight-Ticket Ballot Option Straight to the Trash

Having a "one-punch" option to choose every candidate from a political party alters election results, changes politicians' behavior, and reinforces the advantage of the locally dominant party.

||| Adolphe Pierre-Louis/ZUMA Press/NewscomAdolphe Pierre-Louis/ZUMA Press/NewscomCan an elected secretary of state unilaterally change the ballot in a way that benefits her political party, contradicts previous legislation and blunts the campaign of the most serious third-party candidate running for U.S. Senate in 40 years? That's what the New Mexico Supreme Court unanimously rejected yesterday.

Last month, the Land of Enchantment's Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, decided to reimplement "one-punch" voting just 69 days before the election. One-punch ballots — also called straight-ticket ballots — enable voters to choose an entire slate of candidates from a political party by filling in a single bubble, rather than a bubble for each candidate.

New Mexico was, in fact, one of several states to get rid of the straight-ticket ballot option this century. The Legislature voted it out in 2001 (the law signed, as irony would have it, by then-Gov. Gary Johnson in 2001). Despite this, Democratic secretaries of state kept claiming the prerogative to leave this option on the ballot, until a GOP secretary of state was elected in 2012.

Johnson, a two-time presidential candidate from the Libertarian Party, is making an insurgent bid for the Senate. In the only survey conducted since he entered the race, Johnson is polling at 21% to Democratic incumbent Martin Heinrich's 39%. (Republican nominee Mick Rich attracted 11%.) Registered Democrats in New Mexico outnumber Republicans 3 to 2, and only 1% of voters are registered as Libertarians.

One-punch voting is a time-saving tool for partisans but not for those of us who select candidates on a case-by-case basis. Unsurprisingly, having this option on the ballot alters election outcomes. Where it's available, citizens are more likely to vote a straight-party ticket. They are also considerably more likely to cast a vote in down-ballot partisan races, but considerably less likely to vote in nonpartisan races or for ballot initiatives.

Toulouse Oliver contended that "straight-party voting provides an option for voters that allows their voices to be heard while cutting in half the time it takes them to cast their ballot." But even some members of her own state party rejected that explanation.

"It's not a matter of voter convenience; it's a matter of partisan advantage in low-information elections," state Sen. Jacob Candelaria tweeted right after Toulouse Oliver's decision.

It's not just independents and third-party pols who feel the one-punch effect straight in the kisser. In solidly red or blue districts, it gives opposite-party candidates an even steeper hill to climb. If 2018 Democratic heartthrob Beto O'Rourke falls just short of unseating Sen. Ted Cruz, you can give partial thanks to the Lone Star State's straight-ticket voting (which will be eliminated by 2020).

Candidates and political parties change their behavior in straight-ticket states, in large part by declining to go independent or simply not competing. In Texas, for example, "90% of county offices were uncontested on the November [2016] ballot," Texas Election Source Publisher Jeff Blaylock told the San Antonio Express-News, "and that is largely because we're in a cycle where straight-party, one-punch voting continues to fuel the self-reinforcing cycle that drives down the number of choices that voters ultimately have."

Elected officials who have grown sour on the two major parties — think Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who on Sunday told CNN's Jake Tapper that he thinks about leaving the GOP "every morning" — are heavily disincentivized to bolt where one-punch still remains.

"Straight-ticket voting makes it prohibitive to run outside of the major parties," Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) told me late last month. Amash, an independent-minded cuss and self-described libertarian, has run his entire political career as a Republican in a one-punch state. Maybe that can change. Just last week, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked a federal judge's decision to uphold the state's straight-ticket ballot practice — even though Michigan legislated the practice away in 2016.

From a legal standpoint, it now seems untenable to let judges or bureaucrats defy the will of legislatures regarding ballot laws. Other critics have also argued that straight-ticket violates the equal-protection clause of the Constitution, although that interpretation has not previously won the day. States are still properly free to experiment with how they conduct democracy.

But that doesn't mean the practice of one-punch voting is right. Yes, we live in politically polarized times, increasingly viewing the other major team as an implacable enemy. Yet the long-term trendlines for both party registration and political self-identification are clear: The only growth categories are ones not named "Democrat" or "Republican."

Businesses don't get to write their own regulations, and yet we constantly cede decisions about ballot access, electioneering and even candidate debate-inclusion to the two fatigued major parties. If Democrats and Republicans are so attractive, they shouldn't need the extra boost at the ballot box. It's time to kick one-punch straight to the curb.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Photo Credit: Adolphe Pierre-Louis/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • Inigo Montoya||

    Toulouse Oliver should get one punch, preferably to the nose.

    It's a blatant attempt to rescue the corrupt two-party system from life-support. I say it's high time to pull the damn plug. Those two parties had their day, and it was over decades ago. They're both way overdue for the morgue.

    My fondest hope is that more and more people will wake up the fact that it really just comes down to anti-authoritarian versus authoritarian. That there are slightest different flavors of authoritarian is irrelevant.

  • Horny Lizard||

    The problem is that our system is designed for two large parties. It's just the way it is. In my opinion the best path is reforming these parties as best we can short of adopting proportional representation which would be fucking awesome.

  • JFree||

    Our system is designed for two parties because that is exactly how those two parties designed it.

    They created wholesale-based politics by freezing the size of Congress in 1912 (despite an 7x increase in the number of voters who are supposed to be represented). Wholesale anything is less competitive and entrenches incumbents and big money. We now have the least representative national legislature in the world (and some of our states are bad too).

    We are one of two countries (France is the other) that lets legislatures redistrict first-past-post districts. The conflict of interest is obvious everywhere in the world except here. The difference between France and US is that France has 350 senators and 575 deputies - we have 435 districted critters for a population 5x bigger. So the districting corruption is massively higher here.

    We are the only non-dictatorship that lets the existing parties set the ballot access rules. Again, everyone else on Earth sees the problem except us.

    Reforming the parties themselves is meaningless. So is 'proportional representation'. We no longer are actually a self-governing country.

  • JFree||

    There's actually a reasonable case for a third party to assert that we no longer have a 'republican form of government' which the Constitution explicitly and aggressively mandates for both federal and state levels. Of course no one has ever really defined exactly what that means (if 90% of the elections do not even have two-party competition, then what do elections even mean here?) and what actions that need require.

    I think there is a real opportunity for a third party to actually make that case and seriously attract independents into actually voting. Independents may not agree on any policy - but they are registered (inclined to vote) and they have chosen to reject the party status quo. No third party is even trying to appeal to that.

  • James Pollock||

    The problem that third-parties have is that "enough votes to be a spoiler" comes with a lower vote count than "enough votes to win election".
    this means that any third-party candidate is running as a spoiler rather than as a likely winner of the election, and they draw attention as a spoiler.

    Then there's the fact that actually passing legislation requires convincing enough people in the Congress to support your bill, and no third-party has enough votes in Congress to be worth wooing, which means nothing to trade to get their pet legislation out of committee.

    This isn't unique to American politics... it's just that our system is large and draws a lot of attention.

  • JFree||

    These changes are not even in the public discussion. Only a third party will put them there. Once there, lots of things can change.

    It's easy to explain 'devaluation of representation' by pointing out 1920 - doubling the number of voters while keeping representation the same. Women see 100 years of being forced to oust incumbents just to get a voice. Men who are outsiders (99% of them) see 100 years of diminishing voice. Only the insiders/elites reap all the advantage of divide et impera

  • James Pollock||

    "These changes are not even in the public discussion. Only a third party will put them there. Once there, lots of things can change."

    We have one party that favors spending lots of money on the military, and also spending for social programs. We have another party that favors spending lots of money on social programs, and also spending for military.

    There aren't enough voters who disagree with both of those parties AND agree with other voters about how the country should be run. But a third candidate in a race who can draw voters WILL draw them from one of the "big 2", and could change the outcome. This will keep voters picking from the limited menu, to avoid handing the election to the less preferential of the two biggies.

    Then, even if someone DOES win as a non-partisan, they get to Congress, and... have no power. There's two ways to get something passed in Congress... either big in a party big enough to push it through for you, or have an idea so obviously brilliant that it can't help but pass, and even most of THOSE don't pass without option 1. So, a state that sends someone to Congress that isn't with one of the big parties loses influence.

    Now, party dysfunction may still derail everything... if you get a party in control of the government that can't agree on anything except for tax cuts and increased spending in their districts. You have to override your knowledge of history and hope that voters will turn out the twits, or give up and start day-drinking.

  • JFree||

    There aren't enough voters who disagree with both of those parties AND agree with other voters about how the country should be run.

    For the last 25 years, about 85% of the country in polls respects Congress as much as they do child molester - yet 90% of the critters are reelected because THERE ARE NO ELECTIONS in 90% of districts and incumbents are protected by huge districts and the need for wholesale money.

    That is a massive electoral-overhaul disconnect. What it needs is opening a public discussion. The discussion itself will entirely upend the status quo. Policy is near irrelevant except to DeRp activists. They will certainly prevent a DeRp candidate from getting the DeRp nomination by discussing that. Which is why it has to be a third-party to get that done. And in those districts with no real elections - call for a voter boycott in those districts to undermine the credibility of the results.

    there is no question that the parties themselves are only part of the problem. The real problem is the party hack DeRp voter. They are the useful idiot. But they can be embarrassed - but not via the DeRp game they know.

  • gaoxiaen||

  • ||

    The USA has never been "self-governing". It was founded in 1790 on democracy, a collective, authoritarian political paradigm. This is the opposite of a self-governing populace. It is a dictatorship. One of its first acts was to pass the 10% whiskey tax, a draconian measure to enrich the bankers who were represented by A. Hamilton. Using the blueprint of the Revolutionary War, a revolt against the new tax started and the USA, using the blueprint of the British Empire, responded with overwhelming violence, not reason. The small farmer was ruthlessly crushed in favor of an international banking cartel and big distilleries.

    T.J. despised the democracy and its chief administrator, Hamilton. But T. J. didn't know the remedy. We do.

    It's the NAP, a new political paradigm based on rights & reason. All we have to do is convince about 30 million voters to boycott the old paradigm and establish the new one.

  • Mark22||

    short of adopting proportional representation which would be fucking awesome.

    If you want communists, socialists, racists, facists, and religious nutcases in Congress and head down the path of the Weimar Republic, sure, then it "would be fucking awesome".

    As is, the US two party system ensures that there end up being two opposing moderate parties, since if either party deviates too much from the mainstream, they risk getting replaced entirely.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    We will find out soon. The democrats are really far out there. Soon they will be straight up communists.

  • James Pollock||

    "The democrats are really far out there. Soon they will be straight up communists."

    Yeah. They'll cozying up to Russia, and North Korea, and...

    wait a minute.

  • Mark22||

    If Democrats still end up with about 50% of the vote when they are straight up communists, then that reflects the mainstream view of the American people.

    The two party system keeps splinter views at bay; when the majority embraces hateful, destructive policies, the nation is doomed no matter what.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Democratic Party is dying the death of a thousand cuts.

    I predict it will be Republicans vs Libertarians.

  • H. Farnham||

    You keep making this prediction, while simultaneously calling everyone and their dog a "lefty". I'm afraid to ask what happens to all those folks you consider lefty socialists in this imagined future of yours.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They lose. They continue to cry when Trump is reelected. Lefties continue to ramp up violence and try to destroy the USA.

  • H. Farnham||

    I mean, do they just stop voting and politically mobilizing? If there are still a considerable number of "lefties" around, then why wouldn't the Democrat Party still exist?

  • James Pollock||

    " If there are still a considerable number of 'lefties' around, then why wouldn't the Democrat Party still exist?"

    Because LC's vision of "lefties" includes literally everyone who isn't LC. Democrats are lefties. Republicans are RINO lefties. Non-partisans are lefties. EVERYONE's a leftie.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Lefties are to the Left of Centrist Libertarians.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Democratic Party will be Socialists, Communists, SJWs and other fringe people and not a large force in US politics ever again.

  • EscherEnigma||

    IIRC, registered Democrats currently make up something like 30% of the electorate.

    So which is it... is 30% the "fringe", or are you overstating things when you call all Democrats "lefties" and other slurs?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not all Democrats are Socialists, Communists, and SJWs. There are more and more ex-Democrats each day.

    The Democratic Party will become the party of the fringe people. Republicans wont have them and hopefully the LP wont have them. They will just stick with the Democratic party, since they have partly taken it over anyway.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Not all Democrats are Socialists, Communists, and SJWs.


    Now remember this next time you decide to go off on one of your unhinged rants on the evils of Democrats.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That does not make them horrible people and lefties.

    It just means that not all Democrats are SJWs, Socialists, or Communists.

    Most Democrats are Sheeple.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The problem is the illegals. If the marxicrats flip Texas through illegals squatting there, it will give control of,the executive branch to the marxicrats for the foreseeable future. Hence their obsession with porous borders.

    It's not as if those traitors give a shot alum the actual welfare of all those illegals.

  • James Pollock||

    "The problem is the illegals."

    Only to people with vivid enough imaginations to believe that illegals are voting.

  • Mark22||

    The Democratic Party is dying the death of a thousand cuts. I predict it will be Republicans vs Libertarians.

    I expect you'll see Republicans become more libertarian and classically liberal, while the Democratic party will consolidate all the big government voters.

  • Conchfritters||

    "There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

    - Somebody important, long ago

  • JesseAz||

    Yoda?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Stalin. He was a one-party kind of guy.

  • MoreFreedom||

    Yeah, given the party insiders mostly choose the candidates, the choice is mostly between two authoritarians. A far better system would be Instant Runoff Voting, or Approval Voting. Those voting systems allow for multiple candidates on the ballot, and ensure a majority winner. Today many winners are via plurality, often a result of one of the major candidates getting someone else to run with positions similar to their competition's positions, to split their vote.

    Term limits are also useful, in that it reduces the "investment return" of the rich who contribute to politicians (of both major parties) to get government favors that make them richer at voters/consumers' expense.

  • Mark22||

    It's a blatant attempt to rescue the corrupt two-party system from life-support.

    The two parties are just labels for whatever splits the population at the time. It's a good system and it's here to stay.

  • Horny Lizard||

    The only argument I think you have is the legal one. It's only an option to use the faster method and when you consider long lines do discourage voting then it increasing the speed serves a good non partisan purpose. I've seen my brother leave the polling place because the line was too long and he HAD to get back to work. It's fucking bullshit the way Republicans cheat elections.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You ever wonder why all these Americans hate your guts?

  • Conchfritters||

    They should make Election Day a national holiday.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The day before tax due day?

  • perlchpr||

    Two weeks after, I think. Move Tax Day to October 15th, leave Voting Day where it is.

    Also, eliminate withholding, so everyone has to save up the money to pay their taxes, watch the balance in that bank account rising, rising... and then write a single huge check to the Feds, watch it go away... and then go to the polls.

    I think that would properly motivate the voters.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Oh yeah. paycheck withholding softens the tax blow.

    Everyone should have to send their full tax bill every year.

  • EscherEnigma||

    If someone wants to pay all their taxes at once, that should be their choice. Folks can always adjust their W-2 to do so.

    If someone wants to pay their taxes incrementally so they don't have to worry about it as much, that should also be their choice. And many folks do so, annually adjusting their W-2 to minimize the gap between taxes paid and taxes owed in April.

    What you are advocating is taking away the choice that people make with their eyes wide-open because you do not like the choice they are making.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The IRS should be made to not collect taxes every paycheck. No choice.

    This way everyone hates taxes and demands they get cut by 75%+

    Its a win-win-win for the USA.

  • James Pollock||

    "This way everyone hates taxes and demands they get cut by 75%+

    Its a win-win-win for the USA."

    When they have to lay off all the soldiers, the economy suffers an oversupply of labor. Wages fall. Unemployment surges. Stagflation goes into double digits. Riots follow, then armed insurrection..

    You call this "win-win-win".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Win-win-win

  • JesseAz||

    Blind or ignorant voting never served a common good.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    The only election fraud comes from the marxicrats.

  • James Pollock||

    "The only election fraud comes from the marxicrats."

    Sure, unless you count the election fraud that didn't. But not counting things correctly would be...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    OT: Watch the Lefties at Google squirm about election 2016 and their lies about keeping Google apolitical.

    Leaked Google video

  • Horny Lizard||

    You ever wonder why all these rich educated people hate your guts?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Im rich and educated.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Me too, and I don't hate you. Though I am concerned that your behaviour has grown more erratic.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    My recent commenting is reflective of the recent increased efforts by the Lefties to hijack the truth.

    If Reason does not want Libertarian replies to sock puppets, then Reason should stop sending in interns to sock puppet to boost web traffic.

  • Mcgoo95||

    So your also paranoid about the commentariat? You know who else was paranoid about the Reason commentariat....?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Preet?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently people are paranoid about me.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    You ever wonder why all these rich educated people hate your guts?

    You ever wonder why those rich educated people live in an area where their impressive income allows them to live in a van or stacked in dormhouse living conditions?

  • Horny Lizard||

    You ever wonder why all these rich educated people hate your guts?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They loved Hillary Clinton and thought she would be better as president than Trump. They're not smart people.

    Or they know how bad Hillary was and want the United States of America to fail. Fuck those traitors then.

  • Drave Robber||

    Because intellectuals yet idiots?

    In particular, Brin thinks fascism and communism grow out of "boredom". Tell me again about that boring WW1 or boring hyperinflation of the Weimar republic.

  • JesseAz||

    I can never tell with lefties .. these are good rich ones? Thought they were all bad. They want nothing more than power over the populace, to decide what is best for the populace. You're an authoritarian. Just admit it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    In New Mexico, the procedural argument won the day, the Sec of State has no authority to override the legislature's decision on her own and at such a late date. That is an act worthy of a banana republic. There are utilitarian arguments for and against straight ticket options, which is why it should be a legislative decision. The idea that there is a violation of rights involved is trying to make an end run around the legislative process and entirely self interested partisan position on the part of the Libertarian Party. They have a right to make that argument, but don't try to put lipstick on that pig.

  • MasterThief||

    That's essentially why I'm not on board with Welch's outrage over this issue. His opposition seems to be entirely based upon the idea that it will hurt Johnson's chances. He comes across as arguing pricipals over any principles.
    I'm not a fan of party line voting and they really shouldn't be able to implement it the way they are trying. Straight ticket voting helps the party with the laziest and dumbest members so long as they manage to field candidates. I don't fully mind it being an option, but this does ring as corrupt political opportunism. I'd even be fine if they wanted to put that down as a ballot initiative so that future elections could hold that option

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If you cannot vote for each political position separately, then too bad. Don't vote.

    Voting should not be so easy that political parties get to effectively demand what voters do in the ballot box.

    If voting is so difficult, that political parties get to rig the process to suit their desires, then this experiment is over.

  • Johnimo||

    As it applies to Presidential elections, the constitution mandates that we cast a vote for an "elector" not a political party. If they're too lazy to mark little circles or boxes for several different candidates, let 'em go to the bar for a beer.

  • gaoxiaen||

    It was better the way the United Steel Workers did it. You vote and the winner buys the beer.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I do not have a strong opinion on straight ticket voting one way or the other, but I don't see that its existance violates anyone's rights and the high dudgeon Welch has worked himself into is because he thinks it thwarts what he wants. It comes off as hypocritical sanctimony.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I dont think it itself is a violation of rights. Its an establishment party voting gimmick. Its a trick that is used in conjunction with other tricks to change the rules of fair voting.

    Same thing if the party gave out free coffee outside the voting precinct. Free coffee is not illegal. In this context, free coffee is being used to buy votes.

    Set up the ballots so every candidate gets a fair shake, make the voting process fair and simple, and let one person get one vote.

  • Eddy||

    Old-style Democrats are like "free *coffee*? That's not the drink we give out to our voters!"

  • Eddy||

    "And one vote per person is the *minimum.* Some of our supporters have such a thirst for democracy they can't just vote once."

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +1

  • James Pollock||

    "Its a trick that is used in conjunction with other tricks to change the rules of fair voting."

    Each voter marks the ballot with their choice(s). Where's the "unfair" part? That not enough voters agree with you as to which candidate(s) should win?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    It comes off as hypocritical sanctimony.

    Well this is Reason, so of course it is. Or is the libertarian position now that choices should be restricted when we don't like them?

  • perlchpr||

    I was kinda thinking she deserved to catch a bullet over this, so, I'm glad it got reversed before someone did something about that.

    Attempting to cheat people who have lots of guns seems like a poor idea.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Punch one-punch voting like the proverbial Nazi!

  • Sevo||

    Still waiting for one reason this is an issue which has any libertarian connection at all.

  • Walk_on_Walter||

    What, taking an option away from people doesn't seem libertarian to you? You must be one of those thinkers I keep hearing about.

  • Mark22||

    How about a ticket with just names and no party affiliation at all?

  • EscherEnigma||

    Sounds good to me. I'm personally of the opinion that state and federal government shouldn't recognize political parties at all. That would also mean getting them out of running party primaries, and having party-agnostic rules for getting on the ballot that apply to everyone.

    Alternatively, they could also go all-in on parties and vote for parties directly, but move to multi-seat districts with the party getting seats proportional to the vote.

    Well, the multi-seat districts bit with proportional voting is actually good either way, IIRC research and simulations show that even distrcits with as few as five seats will kill dead most gerrymandering attempts.

    But yeah. If it were an option, get rid of all government acknowledge of party affiliation (including "major party status". Everyone has to collect signatures to get on the ballot)

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It would take a bunch of money out of politics.

    All candidates for a political position pay the fee and get on a ballot. There is not primary paid for by taxpayers. Only a general election.

    The winner wins. In the case of a tie or super close first and second place, a runoff.

    Recounts are paid for by the loser but if the winner has not actually won, the ex-winner pays half of the cost of the recount.

  • James Pollock||

    "How about a ticket with just names and no party affiliation at all?"

    Because political advertising doesn't exist? Because after three months of saturation ads reminding me that brand X candidates are so much fresher than brand Y candidates, and stay crispy in milk, I'm sure none of them will think to add "and by the way, I'm with these guys, not those guys" to their ads.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    It appears the usual assortment of disaffected right-wing authoritarians has established a new committee, Libertarians Against Voter Choice.

    Carry on, clingers.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    You're funny, Rev.

    You call us clingers but you stick to the commentariat like a gecko with separation anxiety.

  • Atlasgolf||

    Authoritarians? The only authoritarians are the ones stealing chunks of American paychecks to continue their pandering to those who feel they have a right to others wealth. The ones who think if we just elect the "right" authoritarians all will be milk and love and honey. I'm for eliminating all references to party on the ballot. This would encourage voters to know individual candidates and policies instead of blind obedience to their wordsmith overseers.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Let's be honest, it wouldn't make anyone more informed, it would just lower voter participation.

    Which isn't to say I'm not for it (I think government should get out of managing or acknowledging parties all-together), but don't try to sell it on false premises.

  • James Pollock||

    " (I think government should get out of managing or acknowledging parties all-together)"

    Meh. It's just acknowledging something that exists. Pretending it doesn't exist wouldn't change anything.

    The real problem of the last two decades is that one party's voters actively supported a program of "don't work together to solve problems", and the party's elected officials honored that wish or got replaced. Now the other party responds in kind. As an idealist, I want political leaders who solve problems. As a realist, I recognize that what I'm going to get are political leaders who pretend to solve problems.

  • majil||

    Teddy Roosevelt and Taft wanted to make Arizona and New Mexico one big State ,Glad we dodged that bullet.

  • EscherEnigma||

    I'm okay with this being over-written on procedural grounds. Sounds like a fine area for it to be a matter of legislation.

    That said, y'all's hyperbole over the evil of a straight-ticket ballot would be comical if you weren't all so serious about it. The arguments for it being bad are as silly as the arguments for not having it being bad.

  • Hank Phillips||

    True. A decade was spent arguing about the relative safety of nuclear power with only Petr Beckmann producing comparison data. I want circles and arrows showing where on the ballot the commie Antichrist left bloody fingerprints! Looking over google news archives, non-partisan elections became editorial news and state law in 1976 after the LP wrote the Roe v Wade decision. Asset forfeiture laws quickly became popular too. No bond-peddling, tax-collecting, prohibitionist looters wanted a ballot with legalize, laissez-faire, live and let live LIBertarian anywhere on it!

  • NoVaNick||

    Where I live, the local dems hand out sample ballots outside the polling place every election day, with the boxes for only the dem candidates filled in (we use paper ballots). They don't say who they are but it says in smallish print (Democratic Party of Virginia sample ballot). Not exactly straight-party voting, but same idea. For me, I use it mostly to remind me who not to vote for.

  • Walk_on_Walter||

    Take choices and options away. Yeah, that seems like a real libertarian, reasoned approach. /sarc

  • NoVaNick||

    Straight-part voting is limiting choice and options-like being forced to buy a cable package that includes a bunch of channels you will never watch.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Seeing as folks have the option of not choosing the cable package, and choosing channels individually, without a cost difference, I'm not sure your analogy holds.

  • James Pollock||

    He's mad that that other tribe uses it. If it was HIS tribe using it, it'd be all hunky-dory.

  • NoVaNick||

    I am not a member of any tribe, thank you.

  • James Pollock||

    He's mad that that other tribe uses it. If it was HIS tribe using it, it'd be all hunky-dory.

  • NoVaNick||

    OK, I admit this wasn't perhaps the best analogy to straight-ticket voting, but you usually do get a better deal by signing up for a cable package vs, choosing individual channels.

  • Paradigm||

    > Straight-part voting is limiting choice and options

    How? It's just another choice? You can still vote a la carte if you want. You're the one who wants to take away choice because it doesn't benefit your candidate.

    Caveat - I don't agree with one woman making this kind of a change but am not against straight ticket.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    New Mexico made the correct decision.

    If they want straight voting, decide so after the election where Gary Johnson wins the US Senate seat.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    You know what would really save time is distributing a pre-filled in ballot.

    If you liked it, you could just turn it in, and if you didn't then you could erase the choices you didn't approve of and fill in the ones you like.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That's what ACORN and PP are for.

  • Paradigm||

    And unions

  • Hank Phillips||

    Those were popular before and even after the Civil War. The parties printed and distributed ballots. Bernard Baruch, whose grandpa was (per his autobiography) a Jewish Klansman, told of Reconstruction-era ballots in which the ballot BOX determined who got the vote. Identical ballots were passed out to (largely black and illiterate) voters and the positions of the Dem and Rep ballot boxes swapped by misdirection and a distraction. "Switched" ballot boxes had that meaning back then.

  • James Pollock||

    The problem is not that there are straight-ticket ballots.

    The problem is that there are straight-ticket voters.

  • MasterThief||

    That's kinda what I was getting at. I can also agree that making the change right before an election in which that change would help the person's party is wrong. If people are determined to vote straight ticket then it will save some time at the polls. I don't have to like that it encourages the stupid, lazy, and corrupt to say that it isn't as horrible as Welch makes it out to be. He's just crying because there is some other problem in the way of his buttboy Johnson getting elected.

  • James Pollock||

    " I can also agree that making the change right before an election in which that change would help the person's party is wrong."

    Meh.
    It's not even in the same zipcode of wrong as widespread disenfranchisement, and you'll find people here who'll argue in favor of that one.
    I'm not arguing that it should be there, but I'm also not arguing that it shouldn't. Making it easier for someone to mark their ballot so that all the candidates of one party are selected doesn't matter so long as the choice to mark each one separately remains for those who choose to do so. The fundamental problem of people who will vote a party line remains whether it's because they marked one circle or twelve circles. And it only works FOR one party if one party has an overall edge in such voters, which can (and occasionally does) change.

    If someone campaigned on a pledge to re-implement straight-ticket voting, and inserted the change just before an election, it shouldn't can't anyone by surprise, not even the third-party candidate who (presumably) hasn't enough members of his party in the state to get elected on a party line.

  • Hank Phillips||

    I am a straight-ticket libertarian voter, but I'd settle for choosing candidates via pistols at dawn.

  • ||

    It's time to "check the premise" that a political paradigm based on force is moral, practical or libertarian. Does voting to be forced make it moral, practical, or libertarian? Does this worldwide paradigm result in peace, prosperity, and domestic tranquility? Is force instead of reason ever wise, workable, or just, in the long run?

    Should "Reason" be debating how to tweak (change) a fundamentally flawed political system? Or should it debate how to abolish it and establish a system based on reason? How is "The Most Dangerous Superstition" replaced with a new paradigm based in reason and voluntary political interaction?

    Isn't that the logical question (debate) for a publication called, "Reason"?

  • Paradigm||

    There are a lot of other decaffeinated brands that taste just like the real thing.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Matt, may we see the conflicting ballots? I do not believe a word of this, and have voted straight LIB since the 1990s. Local (City and County) elections were rabidly partisan before the LP, and now all reference to party affiliation is banned in many looter jurisdictions. Why would the looters ban something that penalizes the LP?

  • BILKER||

    while we're kicking hit Kalifornexicos open primary system to the curb also. when it is gone change gerrymandering to equal area instead of letting the winning majority party change districts every 10 years based on voter party choice.

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