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Bill to eliminate straight party voting is defeated

Published February 3, 2016 8:14 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Straight-ticket voting will remain an option for Utah voters. A House committee Tuesday rejected Rep. Patrice Arent's HB119 to eliminate the option when six of the panel's eight Republicans opposed it. Two GOP lawmakers joined the committee's two Democrats in favor.

Straight-ticket voting allows for a resident to vote for all candidates of one party with a single push of the button.

Arent, D-Millcreek, said it has caused confusion in the past, citing as an example the 2006 election when the little-known Personal Choice Party received 14 percent of the vote in Salt Lake County.

"There is a reason that all the other Western states have done away with it," she said, adding that Utah is one of nine states nationwide that still allows the straight ticket voting option.

Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, supported the bill, saying in Weber County, a review of past races found a 6 percent swing if straight ticket voters were excluded. In a close election, he said, that could be enough to decide an election.

"This policy will bring people closer to their representatives." he said.

James Evans, chairman of the Utah Republican Party, spoke against the bill, saying there was no evidence ­— only conjecture and speculation — that straight-party voting caused confusion.

"Let's not take away a convenience from voters because they identify with a particular political party." he said.




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