Utah lawmaker hopes to end straight-party ticket voting
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah lawmaker wants to put an end to straight-party ticket voting, the process when voters mark just one box on a ballot to cast votes for all candidates running under one party’s banner.
Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, announced she plans to draft legislation to end the voting method, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Thursday.
Arent called the practice an archaic process that most states outlaw — even though it may have helped her party in Salt Lake County this year, and may have helped Democrat Ben McAdams unseat GOP Rep. Mia Love.
Still, Utah Democrats have argued for years that allowing straight-party voting hurts them in the heavily Republican state because it allows voters to cast ballots for the party instead of individual candidates.
“Straight-ticket voting denies good candidates in both parties the opportunity to receive fair consideration by voters,” Arent said. “If we want voters to be educated and hold their elected officials responsible, we ought to encourage them to learn about the candidates they are voting for and not just paint all candidates with a single partisan brush on Election Day.”
Arent ran similar bills in 2013 and 2016, where committees voted down the bills on close votes.
Election records show that more than 65,000 Democrats and over 51,000 Republicans in Salt Lake County voted on a straight-party ticket. Around 9,600 members of minor parties also voted that way.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com