Apr 8, 2011

PA: Party Voting Promotes Ignorance

From Centre Daily:
Title 25, Section 2963 of the Pennsylvania Statutes requires that election ballots enable voters to vote straight party. This is a bad idea for several reasons . . . 

The straight-party or straight-ticket option discriminates against independent and small-party candidates. Not only does the ballot present two places where the voter may vote for major-party candidates, but if the voter opts for the straightparty option, he or she may never see the listing for the independent candidate.

Independent candidates face an additional obstacle. The petition requirements for party candidates to get on the ballot are a lot less than for independents. For example, the 2012 signature requirements for a party candidate are 300 versus 473 for an independent for the 77th Legislative District (Scott Conklin’s seat); and 1,000 versus 3,111 for the 5th Congressional District. The discrimination against independents should not surprise anyone. Democrats and Republicans made these laws.

I know we’re just coming to the primaries, but let me leave you with two thoughts. First, before the November elections, Pennsylvania should join the majority of states and eliminate straight-party voting. Second, in case that doesn’t happen, if you haven’t familiarized yourself with the candidates, don’t showcase your ignorance by voting a straight ticket.

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