Texas Legislature Eliminates Straight-Ticket Voting

The Texas House approved a bill Saturday that eliminates straight-ticket voting, which allows voters to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates in a single ballot marking. Texas will likely become the second state in 2017 to eliminate straight-ticket voting, following Iowa.

The bill, HB 25, originated in the state House, and was initially approved by the chamber in early May. However, before passing the Senate, an amendment was added to the bill that required the bill to go back to the House for final approval. The bill now heads to Governor Greg Abbott’s desk, where he can sign it, veto it, or do nothing and the bill will automatically become law.

The final 89-45 vote fell mostly on party lines. Republicans passed the bill despite objection from Democrats. Advocates for the bill say it encourages voters to pay more attention to down ballot races, while opponents say it makes the voting process more time-consuming, meaning longer waits at polling locations.

Straight-ticket voting is a practice that is slowly getting phased out in the US. Over a dozen states have eliminated it since 1994. Now that Iowa and Texas (most likely) have eliminated straight-ticket voting, only 8 states still allow it: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Utah.