Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Straight Ticket?

A front page story in Thursday’s Chronicle tells that straight party ticket voting has been growing; from 47% of ballots cast in 1996, to 53% in 2000, and 64% in 2004.

Reporter Alan Bernstein suggests one reason is that our ballot is long, crowded with the many judicial races. Many states have systems to appoint judges and then retain them by an up or down vote. U of H political scientist Richard Murray says that only 10% of voters in judicial races cross party lines with knowledge of most of the contenders.

This election of judges is a hangover from reconstruction, along with the Texas constitution itself. Texas voters have approved 456 of the 632 amendments passed by the legislature since 1876. Only Alabama’s constitution, with 800-some amendments has more patches on it.

Anyways, only 17 states provide a spot on the ballot for straight ticket voting. I’ve always been appalled to think of people doing this, but of course regular readers may recall me advocating that prospective voters pass a civics exam before being allowed to vote.

There’s always a smattering of scoundrels on the ballot, and I take pride in sniffing them out and voting against them. Likewise, if I find a race that I know nothing about, I consider it thoughtful to abstain from voting that contest.

But this year is a little different. I’ve looked over the sample ballot and so far I don’t see anybody from the GOP enticing me to cross over. I find myself encouraging others to vote a straight ticket, a practice I’ve heretofore considered contemptible. Paradoxical? I don’t mind that. Sometimes the truth lies beyond logic. That’s why I’m charmed by Zen.

And payback’s a bitch. The GOP majorities of recent years have abused their power, sewing up the lobby and locking out the opposition, while they appoint foxes to run the henhouse. The wars, the economy, the justice system, education and the environment; the way things are, the Republicans have a lot to answer for, and so deserve a long stretch out in the wilderness. Let’s let ‘em have it.


At 7:17 PM , Blogger Lulu Maude said...

I used to find voting on a California ballot an exhausting ordeal. Reading through all the ballot propositions was like preparing for the GRE.

In little biddy Vermont things are a lot simpler.


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