NewsPublic Affairs / October 24, 2016

For Hoosiers, Straight-Ticket Voting Won't Be The Same This Year

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stock photo

Straight-ticket voting in Indiana won’t be the same this election after a change made by the legislature earlier this year. 

Straight-ticket voting allows people to check one box on their ballot and vote for all members of one party. A change last session means that straight-ticket voting won’t apply to races where you can vote for more than one candidate – for instance, county or city council at-large seats.

County clerks, such as Henry County’s Debbie Walker, says those candidates are concerned there will be a huge drop-off in voting for their races.

“People just aren’t going to take the time to read the instructions," Walker says. "They’re so used to going in, pulling that straight party vote that they’re not going to be used to having to go down and select those.”

Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson says she’s doing everything she can to inform voters, including postcards and instructions from poll workers. But she expects a drop-off in votes for at-large races…and says it could be big.

“Hate to speculate but – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make ‘em drink,” Hudson says.

The clerks say it’s also incumbent upon candidates to help educate voters.

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