Utah House OKs bill to end straight-ticket voting. Now it’s up to the Senate.
(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, who is retiring after the 2020 legislative session, speaks with colleagues during the first day of the session at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday, Jan. 26.
“Our county clerks have said this particular issue ... has caused more confusion — they get more calls about this — than any other issue,” Arent, D-Millcreek, said.
Some people think they have to check the box that corresponds to their party affiliation, she said. Others think they are registering for a particular party by marking it.
One clerk who testified in committee on behalf of Arent’s bill tied the drop-off in participation in nonpartisan races to the straight-ticket option, suggesting some voters think their ballot is complete after ticking the party box.
The House passed the bill, HB70, by a 46-26 vote, and it will now head to the Senate for consideration. Opponents included Rep. Norm Thurston, who said he doesn’t believe the straight-ticket option is a source of voter confusion.
“I like the idea of preserving that option for those who want to use it,” Thurston, R-Provo, said. “No one’s being forced to use it. I don’t think it skews the election results.”