End Straight Party Voting in Texas

Ed. Note: We all share the consequential hardship when voters cast a ballot without having some understanding of the underlying circumstance. There is no good reason to allow blind political party loyalty to decide between those who are well and ill suited to be seated at a desk of public service. HB 1288 would eliminate straight party voting in Texas. Republished from Texas Liberty Foundation, March 15, 2015.

On Monday the Elections Committee at the Texas House will be holding a hearing on HB 1288, for the Elimination of Straight Party Voting.

Texas road sign

This bill would mean that low-information voters would not be able to check off one box to vote for all the candidates of a party.  They would need to actually go through all the races and vote for a specific candidate in each one.  This would encourage voters to become more informed about the issues and candidates.  It’s a simple change which would make a huge difference for Texas.

If you want to improve the quality of elections in Texas we encourage you to call or email members of the committee.  Just click on the names below to see their email and phone contact info.

Chair: Rep. Jodie Laubenberg
Vice Chair: Rep. Craig Goldman
Members: Rep. Pat Fallon
Rep. Celia Israel
Rep. Dade Phelan
Rep. Ron Reynolds
Rep. Mike Schofield

Below is a sample email you can borrow from to prepare your own message to the committee members.  Use your own words or call them:

Dear Representative ____:

I want to encourage you to pass HB 1288 out of committee. Nothing is more important than an informed and dedicated electorate. As Thomas Jefferson said, “An enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic. Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.”

It is not unreasonable to expect citizens to read a ballot and make informed choices. By removing the straight party vote it allows choice of the voter to make the best choices in each race, regardless of party. And an educated electorate does indeed vote for the better candidate, regardless of party. If even  a few take time to actually view the ballot as they have to mark each race, we have at least begun on the journey of a more thoughtful electorate

This will also make a difference on bonds and other ballot propositions, which go largely unnoticed or under voted  when one simply selects direct ticket voting.  The large influx of debt brought on by local bond elections is something many grassroots fight hard for. Ending straight party voting will allow for more time spent actually viewing each race and proposition by voters, giving them a full view of the important issues.

Nothing can guarantee that voters will be responsible and informed, but this simple change to the voting system could make a big difference.

Thank you for your attention.

If you care about this issue and can get to Austin on Monday, come and testify at the hearing at the Capitol in room E1.026 at 2pm.  Call Representative Simmons office for information at (512) 463-0478.  Even if you can’t make the hearing, your opinion can make the difference.

Thanks for your support.

Dave Nalle, Director

Ed. Note: Republished from Texas Liberty Foundation. CLICK HERE to read the original.

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