To the editor:
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that our illustrious state legislators in their infinite wisdom would come up with such a brilliantly confusing and idiotic idea such as eliminating at-large races from straight-party voting as a compromise to eliminating straight-party voting all together. It defies logic and makes absolutely no sense.
Straight-party voting and at-large races have been contentious issues for as far back as I can remember. They are, however, two distinctly separate and unrelated issues. The General Assembly, by eliminating at large races from straight-party voting, solves absolutely nothing. All it does is unnecessarily further confuse, complicate and increase the costs of our election process.
The solutions for the inherent problems with straight-party voting and at-large races are fairly simple and straightforward. First, eliminate all straight-party voting. Second, convert all at-large seats to district seats. End of problem, and the beauty of it is they are no-cost solutions.
At-large races are most problematic during primaries when they involve multiple seats. When multiple seats are involved, all kinds of games are played and strange things happen. Often candidates, committees and voters advocate for voting for one candidate. The result is a lot of wasted votes and under votes, which significantly alter the outcomes of the election. That is exactly what happened in the Hancock County primary this year, where the under vote count amounted to more than 15,000 votes wasted or not cast in the at-large county council races.
As I said above, the solution to this problem is simple enough. Convert at-large seats to district seats. The results are no more — or at least considerably less — under votes, no more one-vote campaign games and, best of all, a more balanced and representative county council.
The solution to the straight-party voting issue is just as simple. The General Assembly needs to decide whether Indiana remains one of only nine states that still allow straight-party voting or becomes the forty-second state to disallow the very questionable practice of straight-party voting. It’s their call. Personally, I am strongly opposed to straight-party voting, as apparently are the majority of voters.
Member, Blue River Township Board