NC Senate strikes straight-party voting

Posted June 7, 2011
Updated June 8, 2011

The state Senate voted on straight party lines tonight to forbid NC voters from doing the same thing.

Senate Bill 411 would repeal the law that allows voters entering the ballot box to choose to vote for all the candidates in one party or the other.  About 40% of voters in NC use this option. 

Voters who choose a straight-ticket ballot can go through their ballot and change their votes to the other party's candidate on as many races as they want.

The bill's Republican sponsors call S411 the "Vote for the Person, Not the Party" Act.  They say the intent is to encourage thoughtful voting and to get more people to vote in non-partisan races that straight-ticket voters sometimes miss.

But Democrats say the real goal is to discourage people from voting. They argue that removing the straight-ticket option will slow voting down, leading to longer lines at polling places on Election Day.   

Sen. Malcolm Graham, D-Mecklenburg, accused Republicans of trying to make voting more difficult. "Yes, politics is a contact sport. Yes, there’s winners and losers, but at some point, we’ve got to stop and do what is right for all people, regardless of political affiliation," he said. "Why are we erecting barriers? Even you guys are better than that.”

Bill sponsor Sen. Buck Newton (R-Nash) argued that Graham's "imagination" was working overtime. And Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, insisted Republicans are doing nothing to disenfranchise voters. 

"This bill will allow the voters to choose the person of their choice, regardless of party. This gives them that opportunity," Rucho said. "They don’t have to be just slaves to the system."  

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, pressed Rucho on whether voters could already do that under current law. 

"Of course they can," Rucho conceded. 

S411 passed 31-19 this evening and is scheduled for a final Senate vote Wednesday.


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  • stanmak Jun 9, 2011

    lol keep walkin the line for your mommy bev sartesticles it wont get you anywhere. keep fighting the good fight by "spreading your message" to all 10 people that troll these pages im all for it and with you 100% ;) ever notice that when you talk to people in person about this they look at you like your crazy? theres a reason for that.

  • jamzwilkins Jun 9, 2011

    To the victors go the spoils. Democrats are getting a taste of what it has felt like for decades with Basnight, Black, et al in charge. Change.

  • SARCASTICLES Jun 9, 2011

    Aww Contrayer,'ve got your drawers in a knot about being labeled a fascist, but you guys had that post removed because it expressed an opinion that didn't agree with yours....but you argued against it without leaving a trace about WHAT you were arguing against! What was that talking point that was popular a while back, "Freedom of Suppress"? It's only activist when you don't agree with it, so it MUST be quickly removed before anybody else sees it, and possibly agrees with it too. 1awesomedad's post didn't have any shred of offensive speech or language in it, not a scrap....and he didn't insult anybody. You might take a peek at the NCGOP's popularity rating these days, too. It kills you that Bev blasted the NCGOP out of the water with that Executive Order, and increased her approval rating by doing so. Keep it up, those union-busting primates in Wisconsin thought they had it made too...and they're already in the process of being recalled NOW. ;)

  • stanmak Jun 9, 2011

    the very idea that you are going with "komrades" and fascism as pathetic zingers indicates how far out of touch with reality you are sarctesticles. when will you wake up?? dont bother mentioning next election buddy, we have a governor with the lowest approval rating in the history of NC, and the R's in charge of redistricting, it not hard to see where this is going. you should just pack your bags and move to amsterdam where you will be worshiped for your idiocratic speech. which by the way might i add, you are one heck of a wral online comment board activist. lol ;)

  • digitlburn Jun 8, 2011

    auldscot is RIGHT! It ticks me off! As a registered NC voter, I usually don't vote straight party. But if this gets passed, you can be D@#$ SURE that I will vote straight party Democratic in the next election! It'll save me a lot of time.

    Senator Graham said, "Even you guys are better than that"., they are not. But Graham gets at least one sure-fire vote from me if this passes.

  • SaveEnergyMan Jun 8, 2011

    We vote for people, not parties. And if 5 minutes really discourages someone from voting, I don't want that less than informed, too impatient to do their civic duty, lack of caring vote to count anyway.

  • artist Jun 8, 2011

    "family was one of the 60000+ people you turned your back on"

    Sorry, Dad... but your anger is close to ego and arrogance.

    You are angry at the state of NC for not giving you more than you were entitled? 26 weeks is it.

    Remember... the extended benefits were an "extra"... a special gift not available to hundreds of thousands of others in NC in the past.

    And for you to be angry for not getting more and more money that has to be borrowed by the state from the Feds????.. and business owners will now pay more on their federal and state unemployment insurance premiums because you to get those "extras"?

    And what party are you talking about? Bev could have signed that order 7 weeks ago... so you are mad at both of them? Who isn't?

    I assume you were not able to save money during the good times?

    And honestly:

    "allowing children to go hungry and families to lose their transportation, places of residences."

    Because these people did not get an EXTENSION they starved and are now homeless?

  • josephlawrence43 Jun 8, 2011

    You would be surprised at the numbers of people who, for various reasons, are ignorant of who is running for what, what the issues are, even what the differences are between Dem and Rep. Someone comes around to their church, community center and holds up a sample ballot--and simply instructs them to place their "x" in the big circle at the top left of the ballot and then drop it in the box. And presto--you have a straight party ticket.

  • hp277 Jun 8, 2011

    Early voting cut in half? Check

    Voter ID required? Check

    Straight ticket voting eliminated? Check

    Lines around the block on voting day? Coming soon!!

  • auldscot Jun 8, 2011

    All this bill does is irritate people. If they voted a straight party before what makes them think they won't keep doing it. Do they really think the vast majority are going to do the research? Get real! The only way to force people to change that behavior would be to eliminate the party reference on the ballot.