Senate backs ending straight-party voting


Highlights

Legislation would require Texas voters to choose every candidate individually.

Final Senate approval expected Thursday, returning the bill to the House.

Split along party lines, the Texas Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill that would end straight-party voting, requiring every candidate on state ballots to be chosen individually.

Democrats opposed House Bill 25, saying it could discourage voting in a state with an already low voter participation rate.

“Frankly, I don’t see any purpose for this legislation other than trying to dilute the vote of Democrats and, more specifically, minorities,” said Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, said the change would “encourage candidates to work as hard as they possibly can to educate voters as much as possible.” Other supporters have said the change would encourage voters to better research candidates whose races appear lower on ballots.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

West, who predicted the change would be challenged in court if it becomes law, asked Hancock if the bill’s authors had studied its impact on minority voters.

Such a study was not conducted, Hancock replied. “We considered all voters,” he said.

Final Senate approval is expected Thursday, sending HB 25 back to the House because an amendment was added delaying the end of straight-party voting until 2020.

Hancock said the delay was intended to give candidates and election officials time to adapt to the change.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

State GOP raises concerns over George P. Bush’s Alamo stewardship
State GOP raises concerns over George P. Bush’s Alamo stewardship

The Texas State Republican Executive Committee voted 57-1 Saturday to call on the General Land Office and Commissioner George P. Bush to remember the 1836 Battle of the Alamo as it sets about “reimagining” the Alamo historic site in downtown San Antonio. “The Alamo’s been more than the battle, but the battle has to be front...
Hegar: Harvey won’t hurt state revenue, but could hurt schools
Hegar: Harvey won’t hurt state revenue, but could hurt schools

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar was hesitant to give an estimate Saturday of how much Hurricane Harvey will cost the state, but he said the federal government will pick up most of the bill. Executive editor of the Texas Tribune Ross Ramsey asked Hegar during the Texas Tribune Festival if he believes the cost of past hurricanes will be comparable to Harvey&rsquo...
For Texas cities, climate change is about dollars and cents
For Texas cities, climate change is about dollars and cents

Images of glaciers disintegrating or a solitary polar bear swimming in the Arctic are no doubt evocative, but when it comes to discussing climate change with their local constituencies, for Texas mayors it’s about dollars and cents. That was one of the main takeaways from a panel discussion Saturday at the Texas Tribune Festival on how cities...
EPA removes waste at Texas toxic sites, won’t say from where

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has recovered 517 containers of “unidentified, potentially hazardous material” from highly contaminated toxic waste sites in Texas that flooded last month during Hurricane Harvey. The agency has not provided details about which Superfund sites the material came from, why the contaminants at issue...
Beto O’Rourke doesn’t want Nancy Pelosi to stump for him for Senate
Beto O’Rourke doesn’t want Nancy Pelosi to stump for him for Senate

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso, said Saturday he admires House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but he doesn’t want her or anyone else from outside Texas to campaign for him in his bid to oust Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. O’Rourke, speaking with Texas Tribune co-founder and CEO Evan Smith at the University of Texas as part...
More Stories