Live Mic: Ending straight-ticket voting choice was a mistake

May 13, 2020, 6:16 PM | Updated: 6:16 pm
Straight-ticket voting...

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom. 

Most of the 510 bills passed by the Legislature this year went into effect on Tuesday, which included House Bill 70, eliminating the straight-ticket voting option in Utah.

That is a mistake.

About 30 percent of Utah voters have chosen the straight-ticket option — but no more.

I say voters should read through the entire ballot and educate themselves on the candidates and the issues up for a vote.

But it shouldn’t be the government or the Office of Election that removes that choice from the 30 percent of voters who have filled out their ballots that way in the past.

Ballots in Utah will no longer include a box that allows voters to select all of the candidates in one political party with one stroke under HB70. Voters will now have to go through ballot selections one by one instead, according to a report in the Deseret News.

Utah now joins 43 other states to end single-mark straight-ticket voting (STV).

House sponsor of HB70 is Democrat Rep. Patrice Arent who has been trying to eliminate the option of checking a box for straight-ticket voting on the ballot since 2013.

She says most of the voting in Utah is done by mail, which affords the voter time to research the candidates, races, and initiatives.

Voters miss the chance to vote for judges and constitutional amendments, she pointed out. Further down the ballot are the nonpartisan questions, such as school-board races, judicial-retention elections or propositions, and constitutional amendments.

I am a huge admirer of Patrice Arent, but her attitude and the attitude of the lawmakers — Republican and Democrat — who voted to remove this option from Utah voters is disrespectful and arrogant.

If you read between the lines of what she and other supporters of HB70 are saying is that you the straight-ticket voter are not smart enough to navigate your ballot.

You don’t understand that there are nonpartisan choices on the ballot as well.

So to the 30 percent who selected the straight-ticket option, the supporters in the Legislature and the governor who signed the bill into law are saying you have been an irresponsible voter.

Here is one lawmaker who does agree with me on retaining straight-ticket voting.

Republican Rep. Brad Daw of Orem was one of the two “no” votes on the House Government Operations Committee, which passed it on a 7-2 vote in the past legislative session.

“I see no reason not to give voters that option,” Daw said on Live Mic earlier this year. “We’ve always done it. It’s never been a problem. I don’t see that this solves anything by doing away with it.”

What about the nonpartisan choices down-ballot, such as initiatives and school-board selections? I asked Daw.

“If a voter isn’t going to look down the ballot, we got bigger issues than whether or not that box is at the top,” he responded.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app

Today’s Top Stories


FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
4 days ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
4 days ago
On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted me...
Waverly Golden

Thanksgiving Day donations and volunteering

On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted meal preparation and delivery to Utah families.
4 days ago
Gail Halvorsen, the Berlin Candy Bomber, poses for a photo in the backyard of his Provo home days b...
Waverly Golden

Utahn helps non-profit with modern day “Candy Bomber” operation

In memory of "The Candy Bomber," a fundraiser hopes to supply Christmas presents to refugee children in Berlin and Ukraine.
6 days ago
A duck swims in the pond at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Photo credi...
Mark Jones

Pond at Liberty Park drained for necessary repairs

The pond at Liberty Park has been drained for needed repairs. It is expected repairs on the pond should be completed by the end of December.
7 days ago
FILE: Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 28, filed his paperwork on November 15 establ...

Garland names special counsel to lead Trump-related probes

The special counsel announced on Friday will oversee the investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Live Mic: Ending straight-ticket voting choice was a mistake