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Two out of every three Texan voters cast a straight-party ballot in the 2018 general election, the highest such percentage for any election for which data is available and likely the highest since at least the end of the poll tax era. Unless the Legislature acts, it was the last time voters could cast a straight-party vote with a single punch, mark or other action.

Our preliminary analysis of canvassed and unofficial results from 111 counties, accounting for 88% of all votes cast, indicates the last year of single-punch, straight-party voting is its most popular. Just over 67% of voters in those counties cast a straight-party ballot, up from 62.7% in 2016 and 59.8% in 2014. At least 80 of the 111 counties experienced a record share of straight-party voting for any years for which we have data.

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Statewide, we estimate that 5.5M to 5.7M Texans cast a straight-party ballot in 2018. The current record is 5.63M, which was set two years ago (3.0M Republican, 2.5M Democrat and 0.1M Libertarian and Green). Approximately 2.75M to 2.9M people voted straight-party Republican, the second most in state history behind 2016 (3.0M), and approximately 2.6M to 2.75M people voted straight-party Democratic, the most in state history, breaking the record of 2.49M set in 2016. We estimate between 30K and 40K people cast a straight Libertarian ballot.

With the exception of 2006, the use of straight-party voting has risen steadily in each gubernatorial election since 1998, when 45.1% of ballots cast were straight-party votes.

Straight-ticket Republican and Democratic voters combined accounted for more than 70% of votes cast in 17 counties out of the 111 from which we have obtained data. In 2016, just seven out of 244 counties for which we had data saw straight-party voting rates above 70%. Prior to 2014, just five counties had seen a 70% straight-party rate for any election for which we have data, which goes back as far as 1986.

The state does not collect or tabulate straight-party votes. We seek these numbers from each of the state’s 254 counties in a process that takes several weeks. In 2016, we received data from 246 counties, the most of any year for which we have data. All of our historical statewide figures are estimates based on the data we are able to obtain. Since 2004, our data covers at least 90% of all votes cast in the state.

Under current law, the 2018 general election will be the last for which a single-punch, straight-party voting option will be provided. In 2017, the Legislature passed a bill eliminating it beginning with the 2020 general election. Once used in at least half the states, single-punch, straight-party voting will be available in just seven states in 2020: Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah. Since 2005, it has been repealed by Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Other News

Canvass Deadline: Tuesday is the deadline for counties to canvass their election results.

HD52 open: Rep.-elect James Talarico (D-Round Rock) will be sworn in on Tuesday. He won the special election to fill the remainder of former Rep. Larry Gonzales’s (R-Round Rock) term. That election coincided with the general election, which Talarico also won.

SEN: Dwayne Stovall, who received 11% of the vote when he challenged U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R) in the 2014 Republican primary, announced he would challenge Cornyn in 2020 as an independent.

©2018 Texas Election Source LLC