Editor, Times-Union:

Indiana is one of seven states in the Union that allows for straight party ticket voting in general elections with an exception for at-large races. The straight party ticket voting allows a voter to cast an “indirect vote” for individual candidates by letting the voter cast a vote for a single political party and all candidates of that party on the current ballot. Which means a voter would end up with either a straight red Republican ballot with all Republican candidates automatically selected or a straight blue Democrat ballot with all Democratic candidates automatically selected or a straight Libertarian or third-party slate of candidates’ ballot.

Here in Kosciusko County, voters cast the following straight party ballots in the recent 2020 general election:

Republican Party - 11,644

Democratic Party - 2,134

Libertarian Party - 20

Total Straight Party Ballots - 13,798

Voters in Indiana can also split their votes the “mixed ticket” route where they skip the straight party race at the top of the ballot and go through each office up for grabs and select candidates individually ending up with selections from multiple parties or independent candidates. Here in Kosciusko County, the majority of participating voters went this route with 22,400 casting a mixed ballot or some in cases may have taken a more time-consuming process of casting a straight party ticket vote by individually selecting each office instead of the straight party ticket at the top of the ballot.

The state of Indiana should add a third option which Michigan allows by adding the split ticket where you vote a straight ticket and vote for an individual candidate.

Michigan Ballot Explanation

• Straight Ticket: Vote the party of your choice. Nothing further need be done in the partisan section.

• Split Ticket: You may vote a straight ticket AND vote for individual candidates of your choice.

• Mixed Ticket: Vote for the individual candidates of your choice in each office.

When a voter goes the split ticket ballot route, for example if they selected the Republican Party as the straight party ticket on a ballot with 20 offices up for grabs but decided on one or two races to vote for a member of the opposite party or an independent candidate. They would end up casting a total of 18 or 19 Republican votes along with the lone one or two opposite party votes instead of the straight 20. This is in contrast to a mixed ticket ballot which could have a combination of Republican, Democratic, Libertarian and Independent candidates selected.

Alexander Houze