Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ban the straight party ticket voting option!

I don't normally write about politics, politicians, or voting, but this is an exception. In every election I'm confronted with the stupidest idea ever invented: the straight party ticket.

Regardless of which party affiliation you register with, is it really possible that every candidate in that party is honest, hardworking, and feels the same way you do about the important issues? Not bloody likely. Yet, in every election millions of voters abdicate their responsibility to use their brains when voting, and blindly check the Democrat or Republican straight party ticket box.

I can't remember the last time (if ever) that I
didn't select at least one or two candidates from the "other" party, or at least one independent. That's because I actually think about who I'm voting for before I vote.

As far as I'm concerned anyone who checks the straight party ticket box should be barred from further voting as an idiot who doesn't deserve the right. But because the U.S. Constitution won't allow that, the next best option is to do away with the straight party ticket choice. That would force voters to actually look at the names of the candidates before they vote. (What a concept!)

Sure, the voters may still simply check off the names of all the candidates in the party, one by one, but at least they'll have to look at the names first. Who knows? Some voters might see the names and remember the sleazy negative campaign their candidate waged and decide to vote for someone else. They might recall that the incumbent was roundly denounced by multiple media analysts as useless, wasteful, or catering to special interests, and decide to vote for someone else. They might even decide that both major party candidates are sleazeballs that don't deserve their vote and vote for one of the minor candidates. (It might even send a message to the major parties, if enough disaffected voters did this.)

Of course, this sort of vote-switching may not happen much more often than today, but it should happen at least
occasionally, which would be a good thing for American politics.

So I say, ban the straight party ticket voting option!


P.S. Here's another idea to consider: the negative vote. In those races where there is one candidate running unopposed, or only two and both are worthless, we should be able to cast a vote that counts as -1 instead of +1. If enough negative votes are cast, the candidates may not register any votes at all (or at least they should get the message that we're not happy with them). Write and let me know what you think about these ideas for voting reform.


Rochelle Weber--Author, Editor said...

I'm not sure our ballot in Illinois had a "straight party" option. Or maybe I just went straight to the names and didn't notice. I do, however love your idea of negative votes. I've written myself in once or twice when someone I detested was running unopposed. I realize it was probably about as effective as voting for Mikey Mouse, but if no-one else voted for that person, I would have been willing and able to serve.

Mark Terence Chapman said...

Thanks, for writing, Rochelle! I've been tempted to vote for myself on occasional for the same reason. With my luck, though, I'd get elected County Treasurer or something and have to take a big pay cut! 8^}

Anne Sorgeson said...

In minnesota, not sure we have a straight party option. I always look at the names before I circle. Grr, by the way, it makes me feel like I am still in school. lol

Running unopposed well I feel bad but I don't always pay attention unless I know that someone got bad press for the election for something truly stupid. My hubby watches the local channel that does the city stuff.

I wish I was better with names. Just glad all the stupid ads are no longer on TV and not coming in the mail. Don't need to waste all those trees seriously!

Mark Terence Chapman said...

Anne: I'm with you regarding the commercials. The negative ads got pretty disgusting the last few weeks leading up to the elections.

As for the straight party ticket, I guess it depends on the state. We had it in Georgia when I lived there, as well as here in NC.