Bill introduced to do away with straight-party voting in Alabama

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — An Alabama lawmaker says it’s time the state changes the way voters cast their ballots on election day.

Currently, Alabama is one of only six states with straight-ticket voting, but Rep. Jeremy Gray, D-Opelika, hopes to change that.

Gray is sponsoring House Bill 397, a constitutional amendment that will eliminate straight-party voting in Alabama.

“When you think about straight-ticket voting and how it had increased and basically people are not voting for people anymore, they are voting for parties and that can become very dangerous,” he said.

Alabama is one of only six states that still has straight-ticket voting.

So far, Gray has 21 co-sponsors for his bill in the House, all Democrats, but says he looks at it as a non-partisan issue.

“Besides the democratic party and the republican party, it’s hard for independents to run or some kind of emergence of a new party, he said.

In the 2020 general election, 61 percent of Alabama voters voted straigh-ticket, a number that’s been increasing for years according to Alabama Sec. of State John Merrill.

“People are more aligned with a political philosophy of a political party than ever before, and they would much rather vote for the party than do the research to determine why they should vote for a particular individual,”

That trend is something Gray said is troubling to him.

“I don’t think that’s a true democracy, and I think that in the long run,” he said. “We’ll pay greatly for it when we don’t have the candidates or the elected officials we want in office.”

So far, Gray’s bill hasn’t made it out of committee, and even if it does pass the House and Senate, it would still have to be approved by voters.

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