How did straight-ticket voting affect this year's election?

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Remember the super long lines during early voting?

Rice University Political Science Professor Mark Jones said the lines could get longer when straight-party ticket voting disappears in two years.

"If no change is made, other than getting rid of straight-ticket voting, then we're going to be looking at massive lines at the polls," Jones said.

When that happens in 2020, voters will vote on individual races. It will be a time-consuming exercise.

Jones said it would be up to the state to allocate more money for additional polling locations and voting booths.

"Instead of your line being half-hour, it might be an hour and a half. Instead of it being an hour and a half, it may be three hours," Jones said.

Jones said the straight-party voting heavily influenced Tuesday’s election.

"That’s why we saw all 59 Republican judge candidates lose, all 59 Democrats win," Jones said.

He said those impacted included long-time Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.

"Straight-ticket voting was unprecedented in Harris County. More than 75 percent of Harris County voters used the straight-ticket option. And when Democrats had an 11-point advantage over Republicans, 55 to 44 percent, that made it virtually impossible for most down-ballot Republicans to win," Jones said.

Texas is one of only eight states with straight-ticket voting. He said the change in Texas, in two years, will make each candidate stand on their own.

"One advantage is that voters will be forced to actually look at the candidates and not vote based on partisanship like the majority have up to this date," Jones said.

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