N.C. Sen. Buck Newton makes a case for common sense in his proposal to end straight-party voting on North Carolina ballots. But math and experience undermine his argument.
Newton, a Republican from Wilson, has no doubt felt the sting of straight-party voting. His Democratic opponent, Clarence Bender, was charged with selling heroin a few weeks before the November 2012 election. Newton easily won the race, but Bender still captured almost 40 percent of the vote. And local Democratic Party officials encouraged registered Democrats to stay faithful to the party, despite Bender’s legal troubles.
It’s safe to say that straight-party voting played a role in Bender’s totals. But Democrats aren’t alone when it comes to voting a straight ticket.
As Telegram staff writer Darla Slipke reported Sunday, more than 12,300 registered Republicans in Nash County cast straight-party tickets, also. About 68 percent of voters of all types cast straight-party ballots in Nash County. In Edgecombe County, the percentage was even higher – 76 percent.
As much as many of us would like to like to think that voters carefully assess each candidate on qualifications and issues, the record clearly shows that a majority prefers otherwise – regardless of party.
Newton’s disappointment with that is understandable, but trying to legislate a more reasoned approach flies in the face of what his constituents want. The sooner the senator abandons this bill, the sooner he and other legislators can get on with more important matters.