Mar 07 2013

Free the Vote supports eliminating straight-party voting

Source: Free the Vote North Carolina

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LENOIR (March 7) – Eliminating straight-party voting will be a step toward ending the two-party duopoly that controls North Carolina’s electoral process and discriminates against alternative parties and independent candidates, a spokesman for Free the Vote North Carolina said in a statement today.

“The straight-party voting system tends to perpetuate this cycle of individuals going to the polls and casting votes based simply on party label in the hopes of voting for someone that shares their common values,” said Jordon Greene, founder and president of Free the Vote NC.

Here is Greene’s statement:

“Two bills have been introduced in the General Assembly to end straight-party voting. Free the Vote strongly opposes HB185 as written, but supports SB82

“Straight-party voting encourages uneducated voting and demeans the value of the individual’s vote. The manner in which the device is used in North Carolina also is confusing to voters, since it doesn’t apply to the presidential race.

“Of course, we don’t think if we end straight-party voting everyone will necessarily educate themselves more, but that people will be more likely to do so.

“We support SB82 because it is simple and straightforward. On the other hand, the second half of HB185 is a sad joke, at best. While it claims to ‘provide fairness in placement of parties on the ballot,’ it does nothing of the sort. There’s absolutely nothing about this bill that would provide fairness in ballot placement.

“North Carolina law already heavily discriminates against alternative parties and unaffiliated candidates, making it very difficult for them to get on the ballot in the first place. HB185 does nothing to change that; in fact, it exacerbates the problem.

“The current method for determining the order of candidate on the ballot is dismal at best, and since being higher on the ballot does matter, North Carolina law, beyond its unusually discriminatory ballot access laws, disadvantages alternative political parties and independent candidates by enshrining in law that they will always appear last on the ballot.

“Under current law, parties are supposed be listed on the ballot in alphabetical order, but the so-called major parties are always listed first, other parties follow, and unaffiliated candidates are always listed last.

“All HB185 would do is reinforce the preferential treatment given to the Democrats and Republicans by listing whichever one of them won the last governor’s race first. The other change would also irrationally change the common definition of alphabetical order to start with the whatever the first letter in the current governor’s last name is instead of A.

“It makes little sense to do this. That is, it only makes sense if the purpose is to grant a special benefit to the major party that won the governor’s mansion last, and maintain the preferential treatment the two majors parties already enjoy.”

“If legislators were honestly worried with providing the citizens of this state with the fairness they deserve on the election ballot, they would introduce legislation that does not favor one party over another or set classes of parties as current law does.

“Instead, they would bring fairness to ballot placement by making all candidate’s names appear on the ballot in unbiased random order without any regard or consideration to political affiliation. That is fair placement on the ballot, that is what the citizens of North Carolina deserve. That would be fair – and simple.

“Rather than passing HB185 as written, the General Assembly should enact SB82. This is a simple, straightforward bill that would eliminate straight-party voting. We commend Senators E.S. (Buck) Newton (R-11) and Thom Goolsby (R-9) for introducing it.
-30-

Free the Vote North Carolina
11721-G Windy Creek Drive
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262

For more information:
Brian Irving, Press Secretary
birving@freethevotenc.com
919.538.4548

Share

Leave a Reply

Alibi3col theme by Themocracy