A bill has been filed in the General Assembly, co-sponsored by Winston-Salem’s Rep. Debra Conrad(R-NC74) that would eliminate straight-part ticket voting in North Carolina. The filing of the bill represents a further push by North Carolina Republicans to create electoral hegemony for their party in North Carolina for years to come. More than 2.5 million North Carolinians cast straight-party ballots, which is more than half of the total 4.5 million ballots cast in the state, according to results from the N.C. State Board of Elections. The straight-party ticket total included more than 1.4 million Democrats, more than 1.1 million Republicans and 25,146 Libertarians.
Republican supporters of the legislation claim that it is simply so that voters can chose whom they want to vote for and not simply the party. Democrats claim that the move is directed at suppressing the votes of African Americans. What is clear is that it will result in a confusing mess which may be what the sponsors of HB 185 intend.
According to HB185 top of the ballot would go to the party of the sitting governor (in this case Republicans), followed by the other parties in alphabetical order. When there are multiple seats up for election “the names of the candidates of that party shall appear in alphabetical order by party beginning with the letter of the alphabet that the governor’s last name begins with, then returning to the letter A after the letter Z.”
Thus far in her legislative career NC-74’s Conrad has sponsored or co-sponsored nine pieces of legislation. None have involved economic development or job creation. Two have had racial implications, one would put guns into private schools, and HB185 is a hyper-partisan piece of legislation that many see as extremely divisive. CCD has contacted Rep. Conrad’s concerning this legislation, but has received no response as of press time.
Sources from both parties in the NC General Assembly have expressed some doubts as to whether Speaker Thom Tillis will even allow it to be voted on considering the obviously partisan political nature of the proposed bill.