Alabama House of Representatives considers eliminating straight party voting
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Alabama House of Representatives recently introduced House Bill 397, which would eliminate the opportunity to vote for one political party straight down the ballot.
“Essentially, when we think about voting in an election, we should be voting for the candidate and not the party,” said Gray.
Alabama is one of only six states left to keep straight party ticket ballots alive. Alabama House of Representatives member Jeremy Gray believes many issues reside with political parties targeting people to vote for red or blue, rather than a particular candidate.
“They’re not necessarily going down the ballot and seeing what actually fits their district, who’s a good candidate. And you’re going to have situations where you’re going to put people in office that only got there through the straight ticket voting,” said Gray.
Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill says 67 percent of Alabama residents voted a straight ticket. He believes straight ticket voting is normally favored by the party in majority.
“Most of the Republicans I know are for straight-party ticket voting now. Most of the Democrats that I know are opposed to straight ticket voting now, whereas, 25 or 30 years ago it was right the opposite,” said Merrill.
“It kind of forces everyone to think through the ballot rather than picking one side or the other,” said Alabama resident Josh Whitmer. “I actually go through each candidate and form an opinion for each position that’s up for grabs.”
“You’ve got some Democrats and some Republicans that you might favor, so you might have a mixed voting, but like I said, for the most part it’s been straight party,” said Alabama resident Jimmi Moore.
Gray says the House Bill is only in phase two and if it goes past the House and Senate, then citizens of Alabama will also have the right to decide whether they want to keep or eliminate straight party voting.
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