New voting laws in Indiana discourage straight ticket voting

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana voters will still be able to cast a straight ticket on Election Day, but that vote will not count for any individual candidate for county council or town council at-large.

Straight ticket voting is the practice of voting for every candidate that represents a certain political party on a ballot.

Voters in Indiana will now have to individually select each candidate they wish to elect for at-large county council and town council seats.

The new voting law comes after voters previously did not follow ballot instructions when voting straight party and chose to split the ticket by marking both a straight party ticket vote in combination with individual candidates in partisan races, according to a press release.

“In at-large races there were times when voters cast straight-ticket ballots and then marked additional at-large candidates,” Secretary of State of Indiana, Connie Lawson said in a press release. “Sometimes, these voters had over voted, which the law has never allowed.”

The new law eliminates the ambiguity in multi-member races and provides clarity in order to protect voter intent, according to the press release.

An example of this change is detailed below:

A town council race features three candidates for party A and one candidate for party B. A voter decides to vote straight ticket for party A, which would cast a vote for all three A candidates in the face. Then, the voter decides to cast a vote for one of the B party candidates, in addition to their straight ticket vote. According to Indiana law prior to 2016, the votes for party A would not count as an over vote would have occurred. Under the new law, the vote for party A candidates will be counted.

Voters will be notified of this change in the law at the polls.

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