Straight-ticket voting going away after this November election

Straight-ticket voting going away after this November election. (ABC 7 Amarillo-file photo).

Early voting is over, but when you're casting your ballot Tuesday--Election Day--it will be the last time you can vote a certain way in Texas.

Straight-ticket voting will be gone after this election. This is voting that lets you press just one button, choosing to vote republican, democrat or libertarian for all candidates.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures website, the U.S., only eight states allow you do do this now: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

This change could be good for the Panhandle in the long-run.

Hitting the polls, and casting ballots is where many people were today. And this was all because it was the last day for early voting.

"If you're prepared, you're thinking about it and you know what you want to do," said voter, Alma Hernandez-Farr.

Hernandez-Farr said she and her mom like to get out early, so they can think clearly when voting.

"We make sure we look at the issues and the stance for every candidate," said Hernandez-Farr.

But do most voters have this mentality?

"To say that most voters are informed, isn't a very informed answer," said West Texas A&M Political Science Professor, Dr. Dave Rausch.

Rausch said Texas's system of straight-ticket voting makes it easier for voters to not know who, or what they're actually voting for.

"In some cases having the one-punch type of thing really rewards the type of uninformed-voter, who doesn't take the time to learn about each of the offices," said Rausch.

With House Bill 25 passed by lawmakers not long ago, straight-ticket voting will be gone come 2020. This will force voters to select each candidate they want to vote for individually.

"Research has shown is that as we get rid of straight-ticket voting, those offices lower down like school bond issues, or other local issuesthose issues get a lot more voters," said Rausch.

Rausch said not having straight-ticket voting could be better for local government, because people don't realize they still have to select local candidates themselves when straight-ticket voting.

"There's no good reason why you can't be informed," said Rausch. "You can learn as much as you possibly can just by using internet."

Hernandez-Farr said regardless of voting options, she always tries to be in the know.

"We have voted republican, we have voted democrat, but it's not about that," said Hernandez-Farr.

Rausch said even if someone does decide to press one button to straight-ticket vote this election, there's still a way to go back and select a specific candidate for an office.

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