Straight-ticket voting disappearing nationwide but surging in Alabama

Alabama News

71-percent of Mobile County voters cast straight-party ballots

(WKRG) — It’s a practice that is disappearing across the country but is growing in popularity in Alabama — “straight ticket” or “straight party” voting. In last week’s election, it appears about two of every three voters in Alabama filled out just one oval to cover all of the races on their ballots.

Straight-ticket voting allows voters to choose a party’s entire slate of candidates with just a single ballot mark. That option exists in only six states. Alabama is one of them.

While the Secretary of State office tells WKRG News 5 it will be next week before it has official statewide numbers on straight-ticket voting, most counties have already posted their figures. In Alabama’s four largest counties, the option was extremely popular with 71.7-percent of voters in Jefferson (Birmingham) County voting straight-ticket, 71.2-percent in Mobile County, 69.5-percent in Montgomery County, and 60.3-percent in Madison (Huntsville) County.

The popularity of straight-ticket voting is surging in Alabama, possibly a reflection of more polarizing political times. In 2012, 52.3-percent of Alabama ballots were straight-ticket, 54.8-percent in 2016, and 65.0-percent in the 2018 midterm election.

The popularity of straight-ticket voting in Alabama bucks a nationwide movement to get rid of the option. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, in the last decade nine states have abolished straight-ticket voting. In addition, legal fights resulted in the courts upholding Michigan’s straight-party voting, while denying New Mexico’s Secretary of State from re-establishing the option.

Besides Alabama and Michigan, straight-ticket voting is allowed in Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina and Oklahoma. All, with the exception of Michigan, are strong Republican states.

In Mobile (55.4%) and Madison (56.4%) Counties a majority of straight-ticket ballots were for Republicans, while straight-party voters in Montgomery (69.9%) and Jefferson (56.9) Counties favored Democrats.

64.1-percent of voters in Baldwin County last week cast straight-party ballots.

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