If ever there was an argument for stripping the straight-ticket option from voting machines and forcing voters to deliberately and consciously choose each candidate they vote for, it’s Alvin Greene.
When Mr. Greene won the primary election, voters at least could argue that they didn’t realize who he was. By Election Day, everybody in the state — and well beyond — knew that he was an unemployed man facing criminal charges who was kicked out of the military for incompetence and whose biggest ideas of the campaign were to make action figures of himself and blame U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint (personally and directly) for the recession. And yet he received nearly 365,000 votes — more than a quarter of voters.
But there were nowhere near 365,000 South Carolinians who voted specifically for Mr. Greene. Fewer than 37,000 of the 1.3 million people who voted last month did that. He received his other 328,000 votes thanks to the party-machine device that invites voters to hand all their decisions over to one of the political parties.
While Republicans didn’t have an Alvin Greene on the ballot this year, they hardly have room to smugly denounce those Democrats who vote blindly for party: Republicans received 322,000 straight-ticket votes. And in fact, the growth market for straight-ticket voting is in the GOP: The number of straight-ticket Democratic votes increased by 73,000 since the last gubernatorial election, while the number of Republican straight-tickets climbed by 102,000. At this rate, Republicans will easily surpass Democrats in handing over their brains to party bosses by the next election — which will make their condemnation of “bloc voting” by Democrats ring particularly hollow.
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