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Politics Federal court overturns Texas' repeal of straight ticket voting option

04:25  26 september  2020
04:25  26 september  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Federal court tosses suit brought by Texas Democrats seeking to revive straight - ticket voting . Siding with the state, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo found that Democrats lacked standing to overturn Texas Republicans’ decision to kill straight - ticket voting ahead of the

Straight - ticket voting , the option for voters to check one box to cast a ballot for every candidate from a single political party, is not available in Supporters of the bill say removing the option will force voters to make more informed decisions in individual elections, but opponents say the legislation will

A federal judge issued a ruling late Friday blocking Texas from eliminating straight-ticket voting as an option for the state's voters in this year's election.

a person holding a sign: Federal court overturns Texas' repeal of straight ticket voting option © Getty Images Federal court overturns Texas' repeal of straight ticket voting option

The ruling from District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo comes less than three weeks before early voting begins in the Lone Star State. The decision will keep the option open for voters to vote for all candidates of one party by selecting that choice at the top of their ballots.

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Straight - ticket voting , also known as straight -party voting , enables a voter to select one political party's complete slate of candidates for every office by making a single mark on his or her ballot. As of March 30, 2020, six states provided for straight - ticket voting .

Texas voters will no longer have the straight -party option because the Legislature passed a law last year ending the practice beginning with the 2020 election. Fewer than half of Texans voted straight ticket in 1998, according to research by Austin Community College political scientist Stefan Haag, but

Marmolejo ruled that removing the option would "cause irreparable injury" to voters "by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to COVID-19" and "likely to cause confusion among voters."

Most states do not offer a straight-ticket option, but the practice has become popular in Texas, which notoriously has long ballots.

State Republicans passed a law in 2017 barring straight-ticket voting, arguing that removing the option would press voters to make more informed decisions about for whom they cast their ballots. An amendment delayed its implementation until the 2020 general election.

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12:10 a.m.: Legislature repeals straight -party voting . Arent and other lawmakers argue that straight -party voting leads to low engagement among voters , who are able to select a single partisan option rather than consider the candidates and offices on their ballots.

On the ballot: U.S. Senate • U.S. House • State executive offices • State Senate • State House • Special state legislative • Supreme court • Appellate courts • Local judges • Local ballot measures • School boards • Municipal • Recalls. This page covers regular voting policies in Texas .

The method of voting has proven to be more popular among Democratic voters, and Democrats feared the removal of straight-ticket voting could particularly impact voter participation in urban areas that lean more liberal but also have significantly longer ballots. Marmolejo also ruled that scrapping the option would "[imposes] a discriminatory burden of African-American and Hispanic voters," who disproportionately live in urban centers.

Democrats sued Texas in March over the 2017 law's implementation and were swift to hail Friday's ruling as a win against voter suppression.

"We committed to voters in Texas that we would fight any obstacle to freely and fairly participating in our elections, and this ruling underscores why that work is so important," the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said in a joint statement.

"Without straight-ticket voting, Texans would have experienced longer lines and wait times at polling places across the state, an unacceptable barrier that would have impacted minority communities," they added. "We are relieved the court has upheld straight-ticket voting and struck down this harmful law."

The ruling comes as Democrats look to boost turnout in Texas as polls show both the presidential and Senate races, as well as a number of House contests, are competitive in the final sprint to Election Day.

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usr: 1
This is interesting!