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Straight-Ticket Voting Could See Its End This Year

Photo of a ballot that includes the straight party vote option
Renee Bright
Utah Rep. Patrice Arent is running a bill to ban straight-ticket voting in the state.

The option to cast a vote for every candidate of your preferred political party on the ballot by checking one box could see its demise in 2020.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, is again running a bill to ban straight-ticket voting in Utah, a measure she’s proposed for years. In 2019, the legislation was only one step away from Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk before dying when the clock struck midnight on the final night of the session.

The House Government Operations Committee approved Arent’s bill by a vote of 7-2 Thursday, sending it to the full House for consideration.

“We want people to be thoughtful voters. We want them to see the names of the people they’re voting for,” Arent told members of the committee.

The Democratic lawmaker said she has been in situations where “someone walks up to me at the grocery store and says, ‘Oh, I’m so glad that I voted for you. I voted straight-ticket Republican.’ … oops.”

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, said he has signed on to co-sponsor the legislation. “This is just not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue,” he said. Banning it “leads to a more educated voter.”

Arent pointed out that people would still be able to vote for every member of their preferred party in elections — it’ll just take an extra minute. “I’ve timed it,” she said.

Only five other states still allow straight-ticket voting for all partisan races, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Nicole Nixon covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @_Nixo

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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