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.