Straight ticket voting reinstated in Texas

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Just as Texans were about to experience their first election without straight-ticket voting, or the ability to vote for a single party rather than cast individual votes, a federal district court in Texas has blocked the law doing away with it.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo granted a temporary injunction of the straight-ticket voting law on Friday.

The law passed during the last Texas Legislature session and many voting rights groups feared it would negatively impact turnout, especially in metro areas with lengthy lists of candidates. 

“Eliminating a practice that Texans voters have been accustomed to for 100 years is more likely to cause confusion among voters than eliminating it would,” read the judge’s ruling. 

Citing the pandemic, the judge argued that straight-ticket voting is an “efficient electoral process that guarantees Texans a more effective opportunity to cast a ballot in a time where any additional time spent in line endangers the safety of voters, poll workers, and others not at the polls.”

“This is a matter of utmost importance to the constitutional rights of Texan citizens, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation,” the judge concluded. 

Texas Democrats filed the lawsuit in March. 

“Time and time again Republican leadership has tried to make it harder to vote and time and time again federal courts strike it down,” Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa said in a prepared statement reacting to the ruling. “Texas Democrats will have to continue to win at the ballot box to protect the right vote. Until the new Texas majority wipes out these out-of-touch Republicans, Texas Democrats will never stop fighting for Texans in court.”

Photo: Loren Elliott/Getty Images

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