Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Straight ticket peril

Just a reminder for local Austin folks now that early voting has begun. A straight party ticket vote will not give your candidate a vote, you have to specifically vote for Lloyd Doggett or whoever you've chosen in district 21 and 25. No conspiracy or foul play here, just a typical SNAFU (Tom Delay's mess is not quite cleaned up).

From the Statesman [LINK to full story]: Candidates in Austin's 21st and 25th congressional districts are working overtime to educate constituents about a twist on the Nov. 7 special election ballot that could cost them votes.

In those districts, even if a voter selects straight-party ticket for the rest of the statewide races, he or she still has to check a box specifically to select a candidate for the U.S. congressional race. If no box is checked in that race, the ballot won't register a vote for any congressional candidate.

Austin Chronicle [LINK to full story]: Straight-ticket voting may be a convenient way to declare your party loyalty in the voting booth, but beware: In the Nov. 7 election, pressing the straight-ticket button could damage your favorite party.

As with so much more that is screwed up with democracy in Texas, you can thank Tom DeLay. In August, portions of the congressional redistricting that he forced upon Lone Star voters was found unconstitutional, necessitating that five districts be redrawn yet again, including two in Travis, districts 25 and 21. That in turn invalidated the spring primaries in those races, forcing special elections in which multiple candidates of a political party may run. As District 25 incumbent Lloyd Doggett points out in a letter in today's "Postmarks" section, that means straight-party votes don't apply in those particular races – i.e., if you live in District 25 and press the "Straight Democrat" button, no vote will be recorded for Doggett, or anyone else in that race. Voters must go directly to that race on the ballot and select a specific candidate. Other races on the ballot are unaffected by this situation.

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BBC said...

I can't help but wonder why they make voting so complicated.

MichaelBains said...

Jeez... I've Never voted a straight ticket. The Dems always seem to have the odd mobster or the like up here in the O.

Hekk, if it wasn't so important to get Mike DeWine outta office, I'd have a hard time voting for Sherrod Brown cuz of his reactionary and parochial take on Free Trade. Well, I'd still vote for him, but straight ticket still smacks way too much of a religious practice for my taste.

Good for you for broadcasting the dilemma though, Blueberry. Folks gotta know, ya know.

Blueberry said...

I have done it but never again. Some of the voting machines have gotten creative with that type of voting, like straight ticket Dem would cast a vote for Bush as prez. I think our own machines did that last time around. Nice touch. Touch of evil, that is.