Citizens throughout the state have started fulfilling their civic duty by standing in early voting lines, and many have noticed that it’s taking longer to get through those lines than in years past. This is not accidental.
It is an intended consequence of one of the changes in the omnibus GOP election law, namely the elimination of straight ticket voting.
When I voted last week there were 29 (contested) races on my ballot, meaning I had to mark 29 circles on my ballot to vote in every contest that offered a choice.
Twenty-two of those races were partisan; in years past had I chosen the option I could have voted all those races with one single mark, meaning I could have voted the entire ballot with eight marks instead of 29.
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The difference between making eight or 29 marks may sound small, but notice that it more than triples the amount of time it takes to cast a ballot.
And then remember that the majority of state voters – both parties – used the straight ticket option in 2012. These lines are moving slowly because the GOP legislature wants them to.