N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson
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N.C. Sen. Buck Newton, R-Wilson

Bill would end straight party ticket voting

By Darla Slipke

8 Comments | Leave a Comment

N.C. Sen. Buck Newton wants people to vote for candidates, not their party 
labels.

Newton, R-Wilson, has re-introduced a bill that would eliminate the option of straight-party ticket voting in North Carolina.

“I feel very strongly that people should be voting for the person and not the party,” Newton said.

In North Carolina, voters have the option of casting one vote for a particular party’s nominees in all offices except the president and vice president. Judges are not included in the straight-party vote because judicial elections are nonpartisan in North Carolina.

Voters who use the straight-party option still can make an exception by voting for a candidate who is not nominated by that party.

The bill Newton proposed would do away with straight-party voting starting in January.

Newton sponsored a bill to do away with straight-party ticket voting in 2011. He said he is optimistic the bill will have more success this time around.

“I believe that the public feels more strongly than ever about the need to reform some of our election laws,” Newton said.

He said he also believes that having a stronger Republican majority in the N.C. General Assembly and a new governor will improve opportunities for the bill to become law.

Newton said his opinion about straight-party voting has not been changed, based on the elections he has been involved with.

During the November 2012 election, Newton’s Democratic challenger, Clarence Bender, was arrested on charges of trafficking heroin. Democratic officials still encouraged people to vote for Bender.

Many voters took advantage of the straight- party ticket option in North Carolina during the November 2012 election. More than 2.5 million North Carolinians cast straight-party ballots, which is more than half of the total 4.5 million ballots cast in the state, according to results from the N.C. State Board of Elections. The straight-party ticket total included more than 1.4 million Democrats, more than 1.1 million Republicans and 25,146 Libertarians.

N.C. Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash, said the bill to eliminate the straight-party ticket option is another example of the Republican Party putting its energy into trying to suppress the Democratic vote.

“Instead of focusing on promoting policies that will get them the votes they need to win, they want to suppress the vote of people who would disagree with them,” Bryant said.

The bill could be especially harmful for black voters, who make up one of the most loyal Democratic voting blocks, Bryant said.

“That method of voting is a method that is very important to the African-American community, and is one of the strategies that makes our voting most effective,” Bryant said.

People vote for individuals as well as party labels, Bryant said. She said political party affiliation helps voters know what policies candidates support.

“That helps people understand the individual,” Bryant said.

Candidates who stand apart from those labels make sure voters know, Bryant said.

Newton said that under the proposed bill, candidates still would be identified on the ballot by their political parties if they are running in partisan races. Therefore, if party labels help voters make a decision, they still would be able to see how candidates are affiliated, Newton said.

“I just think that common sense says, and that most people agree, that you should vote for the best candidate, not necessarily what their party label is,” Newton said. “I think that affects Republicans as much as it affects Democrats.”

N.C. Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, also is a sponsor of the bill to eliminate straight party voting. The bill, which was filed earlier this month, has been referred to the Committee on Rules and Operations of the N.C. Senate.

Comments

Hmmm

White democrats in the 50s and 60s fought HARD to prevent blacks from voting. That same mindset has now moved into the Republican Part by people that want to repress the black vote with a new tactic. What's really funny about it is that many POOR and MIDDLE CLASS whites have been lured by Republicans into voting against their own best economic interests.

curnilius...

well curnilus you did it again, bless your little southern heart. yes, informed/educated people do know who their candidates are. picking people up at rest homes, taking them to the voting booth, and telling them to vote 'straight party democrat'.. d...e...m..o..c...r..a..t... isn't helping the system. thank goodness the republicans took control this year in NC... maybe something will get done... you just as well go ahead and tell them to vote a straight black ticket... without regard to qualifications... still got those drug dealers hanging around your neighborhood?

Ignant?

What is ignant is to think that the majority of the folks who vote know who the candidates are. I bet that the majority of the folks black and/or white don't know who their elected officials are. What in the heck is the purpose of being a member of a party and not vote for the candidate that is suppose to push your parties agenda? I find it quite interesting that someone would sponsor a bill saying vote for candidates and not the party. Anyone in their right mind ought to know that something is missing from that picture. So why did the ballots go to being able to vote a straight party ticket?

Yes, Mr. Buck Newton. great idea.

all those people who tried to derail his campaign with old smear need to get over it as well as those in the dem party who lost miserably in the last NC election. do away with straight Party voting? sure sounds good to me. if those dam dem folks don't have a clue who they are voting for, don't vote... quit messing with our state's resources. maybe those people coaching you on how to vote 'straight DEM" will have to do a little more work in helping you to recognize names of people. thanks, mr newton for trying to help our state... you already have. heck, with the current system of voting they could put bozo the clown and captain kangaroo along with puff didee as straight party dems and those folks would vote for them.

Give me a break.

If Mr. Newton wants to escape the stigma of being a Republican, he should switch parties. Let people know what policies you'll support by copping to your affiliation, Buck. Stop your attempts to hide from the voters in your district.

Exactly

Let people vote the way they want......Thats America!

Straight Party is for the Ignorant

For years the straight-party ticket has been a tool to get the low-educated or uneducated voter a "reason" to vote. You don't have to know who you are voting for. So the lowest common denominator is party. That's the dumbest way to elect the people responsible for running our community & our state & our country. The "right" to vote is also a responsibility. Like too many other things in this country - the excuse of the lazy is often confused with the right to do what they want anyway.

Let people do what they want

Why not continue to let people to vote the way they want? If want to vote for all Republicans or all Democrats...Let them...Don't you have something more important to deal with?

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