Questions Raised After Increase In Straight Party Voting

Tuesday, November 20th 2018, 11:20 am
By: Grant Hermes

Questions are being raised by experts, politicians and advocates alike after the state saw an increase of straight party voting during the midterm election.

Oklahoma is one of a few states which has a dedicated section of the ballot allowing voters to mark a single box indicating a vote for a single party. 

The numbers are stark. 40 percent of the voters in this latest election voted using the straight ticket box, which comes out to about 477,000 votes. The percentage is an uptick compared to recent elections which saw closer to 35 percent straight ticket votes.

Out of those voters, two-thirds were Republicans, roughly one-third was Democrats and about 1 percent of the straight ticket vote went to the Libertarian party.

Since the results were released, several ousted politicians have voiced their concerns as well as political experts. Some say the straight ticket box can cause confusion. Some voters have said they thought it was a box signaling about with which party they were registered.

Others like voter engagement group "Let's Fix This" have concerns the straight ticket voting option could prevent voters from informing themselves about candidates.

“I don't want to be rude, but for some folks, it's a lazy way to vote,” said the group’s executive director Andy Moore. “I feel like if you're taking a test in school and you put "A" in the first answer and you expect all the answers to be "A," that's kind of the equivalent of straight ticket voting, right? If you are endorsing these people go ahead and fill in the box for each person's name."

There is some talk from groups like "Let's Fix This" about a possible state question to get rid of the straight ticket box on the ballot but that wouldn't likely happen for a few years.