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Senate passes bill to end straight-ticket voting

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The party faithful — Republican or Democrat — who make their marks at the top of a General Election ballot and call it done may not have that option in 2016.

A bill that would eliminate the straight party ticket voting option on a ballot passed the state Senate on Tuesday on a split 25-8-1 vote.

 Sen. Charles Trump, R-Morgan, said the changes would put West Virginia in line with most other states in the country, leaving only 11 that allow a single mark to cast all votes for one party on a ballot.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said the measure could hurt Republicans and their newly found majority in the statehouse.

“We have benefited from this over the last couple of election cycles,” Carmichael said. But, he said, eliminating the straight party ticket voting option is the “right thing to do.”

In opposing the bill, some Democrats said the options for voting should be increased, not decreased.

Sen. Art. Kirkendoll, D-Logan, said eliminating a voter option could further discourage voter turnout.

“I think it’s a silly bill,” said Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison. “All we’re doing is getting rid of a tradition because we think it gives someone an advantage. I don’t think we give voters enough credit…


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