Bill debated to remove straight party voting

DES MOINES – A proposal to eliminate straight party ticket voting in Iowa was approved by a state House committee Thursday.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines, would mean that when Iowa residents go to vote, they could no longer check one box and select all the candidates from a single party. Instead, they would have to individually vote for each candidate on the ballot.

Rep. Lee Hein, R-Monticello, said the bill would force voters to be more thoughtful.

“Whether you’re the President of the United States or you’re running for trustee of a township, you deserve just as much choice. A lot of the time people make their decisions on the top of the ticket,” said Hein, who said his support was not politically motivated.

But Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said the change could make it hard for people with physical disabilities to vote, and said it might slow voting on Election Day.

“What I am fearful of, it could create longer lines at the polls. I do not want us to become Florida and other states in the country where they had lines that were two or three hours. We don’t want to make it more difficult for people to vote,” Mascher said.