INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Some changes are coming to the voting process in Indiana.
While a straight ticket option will still be on the ballot, that vote won’t count toward candidates running for at-large county and town council seats.
Instead, voters will have to individually elect candidates running for those seats.
Tippecanoe County Clerk Christa Coffey said the move had been in the works.
“For two straight legislative sessions, there have been different attempts to remove the straight party voting option in Indiana so that every person has to vote for every race individually,” Coffey said.
Earlier this year, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 61 putting the changes into law.
“I think it’s an exercise to see if it makes a difference before we go into the 2017 legislative session, but I don’t think it was a smart way to go about it,” Coffey said.
Along with confusion and longer lines at the polls, Coffey said it could also be difficult for candidates to explain to voters while campaigning.
“I’m not sure why we’re doing this,” Coffey said. “I mean, these people have to run as a party, so the fact that they’re not connected to the straight party votes makes no sense at all.”
According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, the new law is aimed at boosting voter awareness.
In past elections, some voters failed to follow proper instructions when casting a straight party vote. In some cases, it resulted in voters casting more than one vote.
Coffey said she’s doing everything possible to make sure voters aren’t left with questions come Nov. 8.
“We’ll have laminated sheets with the things that are different on the ballot highlighted, especially this year, so people can look at it before they go into the voting booth and alleviate some of that,” Coffey said.
The Secretary of State’s Office says the new law will not affect straight party voting in any other races on the ballot only at-large races.