Texas Republicans’ straight-party ticket won every statewide office in every election since 1994.
Now, on a 22-year winning streak, they suddenly want to do away with straight-party voting.
This also seems odd to some Republicans.
But House Bill 25 is sailing through the Texas Senate to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. With a pen stroke, he’ll force two-thirds of Texas voters to give up lifelong habits and cast their votes line by line.
State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, opposed the change.
“Straight-ticket [voting] is popular,” she wrote by text message Thursday, after the bill cleared Senate sponsor and North Richland Hills Republican Kelly Hancock’s business committee.
Why’s an election bill in the business committee?
We can only assume it’s because the No. 1 opponent of straight-ticket voting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, meant business.
Patrick’s son, District Judge Ryan Patrick, lost his judgeship last fall in the Harris County landslide for Hillary Clinton.
This is an attempt to cause voter confusion and longer lines.
Manny García of the Texas Democratic Party
Patrick filed a 2009 bill trying to end straight-ticket voting for judges. Instead, the Legislature is wiping it out completely.
“That surprises me, because you’d think the Legislature would want it there,” said Tarrant County’s top elections official, Stephen Vickers, predicting slower voting.
Texas Democrats cited the same reason.
“This is an attempt to cause voter confusion and longer lines,” said Manny García of the state party.
Sending the bill to the Business and Commerce Committee “shows the leadership is taking extraordinary steps to pass this,” García said.
Local state Reps. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, and Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, joined Klick as Republicans opposing the change.
I didn’t feel comfortable taking [it] away.
State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake
“Voters really like the option,” Capriglione wrote in a message: “I didn’t feel comfortable taking [it] away. Voting should be as convenient and as accessible as possible.”
But Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, said an election where voters choose each candidate, as in primaries, “yields better candidates, which produces better public servants.”
County Republican Chairman Tim O’Hare of Southlake pointed to recent results showing more urban Democrats voting straight-ticket than Republicans, although not in Tarrant County.
“If it helps us to maintain control in the state, I’m for it,” he said.
“It’s more important that Texas stay red.”
This is the first time I have ever heard Republicans express any doubt.