State Makes Big Change For Straight-Party Voters

first_imgState Makes Big Change For Straight-Party Voters· Bob KasardaIndiana lawmakers have enacted a significant change for anyone casting a straight-party ballot.A new state law requires that those opting for just one party on the ballot take the additional steps of selecting individual candidates in all at-large races, according to one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. David Ober, R-Albion.No ballots will be cast in at-large races without taking these additional few steps, he said.The change was enacted because when those casting a straight-party ballot on electronic equipment chose to support candidates of the opposing party in at-large races, those latter changes were not being counted, Ober said.There have also been problems with straight-party voters not going to the end of the electronic ballots as is required to complete their vote, he said.Porter County Councilman Dan Whitten, D- at-large, who is seeking re-election, to his at-large seat, does not buy the explanation.“It’s completely unnecessary,” he said. “It completely divests voters of the strength of their vote.”Democrats cast more straight-party ballots than Republicans in every general election in Porter County for the last five years, with the exception of 2014, according to records posted online by county government.Far more Democrats also cast straight-party ballots in Lake County going back as far as 2008, according to online recordsposted by that county.Rich Parks, who is among five Republican seeking to unseat the three Democratic incumbent at-large Porter County Council members, said he does not believe the change will impact one party more than the other.But, “I think it can take some getting used to,” he said.0The only at-large race in Porter County this year involves the council. There are none in Lake County, but both counties have municipal and township races that will be affected in future years.Matthew Kochevar, co-general counsel at the Indiana Election Division of the secretary of state office, said the new law requires instructions be placed on the ballot before each at-large race explaining that straight-party voting will not apply to those candidates.Whitten voiced concern that the instructions will be missed by voters.“We can all pretend that’s not going to happen,” he said.Ober said he would like to see straight-party voting eliminated all together, citing how candidates no longer promote their parties as much as they used to and how voters are more consistently splitting their tickets.Lake County Councilman and Republican Party Chairman Dan Dernulc, who supports this idea, said he believes voters are intelligent enough to pick individual candidates and will walk away feeling more “ownership” of those elected.“To me, it’s just a better way to vote,” he said.Porter County Councilman Bob Poparad, D-at-large, who is seeking re-election, said he believes the new law is a step toward eliminating straight-party voting.Councilwoman Sylvia Graham, D-at-large, who is also on this year’s ballot for re-election, said she fears the change will cause confusion among voters and could drive some away from the election process.“People are going to need to be educated on this,” she said.Republican Porter County Council candidate Travis Gearhart said he does not believe the changes will impact his race because many local voters are already splitting their [email protected], (219) 548-4345Indiana lawmakers have enacted a significant change for anyone casting a straight-party ballot.A new state law requires that those opting for just one party on the ballot take the additional steps of selecting individual candidates in all at-large races, according to one of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. David Ober, R-Albion.No ballots will be cast in at-large races without taking these additional few steps, he said.The change was enacted because when those casting a straight-party ballot on electronic equipment chose to support candidates of the opposing party in at-large races, those latter changes were not being counted, Ober said.There have also been problems with straight-party voters not going to the end of the electronic ballots as is required to complete their vote, he said.Porter County Councilman Dan Whitten, D- at-large, who is seeking re-election, to his at-large seat, does not buy the explanation.“It’s completely unnecessary,” he said. “It completely divests voters of the strength of their vote.”Democrats cast more straight-party ballots than Republicans in every general election in Porter County for the last five years, with the exception of 2014, according to records posted online by county government.Far more Democrats also cast straight-party ballots in Lake County going back as far as 2008, according to online recordsposted by that county.Rich Parks, who is among five Republican seeking to unseat the three Democratic incumbent at-large Porter County Council members, said he does not believe the change will impact one party more than the other.But, “I think it can take some getting used to,” he said.0The only at-large race in Porter County this year involves the council. There are none in Lake County, but both counties have municipal and township races that will be affected in future years.Matthew Kochevar, co-general counsel at the Indiana Election Division of the secretary of state office, said the new law requires instructions be placed on the ballot before each at-large race explaining that straight-party voting will not apply to those candidates.Whitten voiced concern that the instructions will be missed by voters.“We can all pretend that’s not going to happen,” he said.Ober said he would like to see straight-party voting eliminated all together, citing how candidates no longer promote their parties as much as they used to and how voters are more consistently splitting their tickets.Lake County Councilman and Republican Party Chairman Dan Dernulc, who supports this idea, said he believes voters are intelligent enough to pick individual candidates and will walk away feeling more “ownership” of those elected.“To me, it’s just a better way to vote,” he said.Porter County Councilman Bob Poparad, D-at-large, who is seeking re-election, said he believes the new law is a step toward eliminating straight-party voting.Councilwoman Sylvia Graham, D-at-large, who is also on this year’s ballot for re-election, said she fears the change will cause confusion among voters and could drive some away from the election process.“People are going to need to be educated on this,” she said.Republican Porter County Council candidate Travis Gearhart said he does not believe the changes will impact his race because many local voters are already splitting their ballots.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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