Editor, Times-Union:

In a recent letter to the editor, I mentioned how the state of Indiana should keep straight ticket voting along with the mixed ticket voting that is currently done while adding split ticket voting as Michigan does.

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.

This would allow Hoosiers to better signal their preferences at the ballot box whether for candidates from the two major parties or ones from third parties along with independents or a mix of candidates across the spectrum. Hoosiers should also be able to see more parties and their candidates on the ballot which means the threshold for ballot access will need to be adjusted from the current 2% of the secretary of state’s race from the previous election to the following:

• In order to gain ballot-access any political party must gather 10,000 valid registered voter signatures statewide with a minimum of 500 per congressional district. Parties with ballot access before 2020 would be exempt from this first-time requirement.

• In order to keep ballot access all political parties must earn a minimum of 1% of the vote in a secretary of state election and 0.5% of the previous gubernatorial election. In other words, ballot access must be maintained every two years instead of the current four years.

Results from the previous two secretary of state and governor elections are show below to give readers a rough idea of what this would look like on a ballot.

2018 Indiana Secretary of State Election Results

Republican - Connie Lawson/1,261,878/56.2%

Democratic - Jim Harper/910,744/40.6%

Libertarian - Mark Rutherford/71,179/3.2%

Other party/independent/write-in candidates - 905/0.0%

Total 2018 Votes Cast - 2,246,759

•2% Ballot Threshold Margin - 44,935 •1 Margin - 22,468

2014 Indiana Secretary of State Election Results

Republican - Connie Lawson/57.1%/762,223

Democratic - Beth White/39.5%/527,379

Libertarian - Karl Tatgenhorst/3.4%/45,393

Total 2014 Votes Cast - 1,334,995

•2% Ballot Threshold Margin - 26,699 •1% Margin - 13,350

2020 Indiana Governor’s Election

Republican - Eric Holcomb 1,706,739/56.51%

Democratic - Woody Myers 968,106/32.05%

Libertarian - Donald Rainwater 345,569/11.44%

Total 2020 Votes Cast - 3,020,414

•0.5% 2020 threshold margin - 15,102

2016 Indiana Governor’s Election

Republican - Eric Holcomb/Suzanne Crouch 1,397,396/51.38%

Democratic - John R. Gregg/Christina Hale 1,235,503/45.42%

Libertarian - Rex Bell 87,025/3.20%

Total 2016 Votes Cast - 2,779,968

•0.5% 2016 threshold margin - 13,899

This standard would allow for more minor political parties to appear on Indiana election ballots while at the same time maintaining a standard of acess that those parties would have to achieve in order to prove they are serious and viable organizations that are offering real alternatives for Hoosiers. Readers should urge their state legislators to make this a priority in the next legislative session for 1% and 0.5% margin ballot access.

Alexander Houze