CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Straight-party voting would no longer be an option in West Virginia under a bill moving through the state Senate.

Sen. Charles Trump (R-Morgan, 15)

“The right to vote is so important and this freedom that we have to elect people who will govern and represent us is so important,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Trump (R-Morgan, 15), one of the bill’s five sponsors.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect that voters should actually look through the ballot and consider the candidates in both parties, all the parties, for each office.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, West Virginia is one of 11 states still offering straight-ticket voting, also called straight-party voting. The others are Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Utah.

Straight-ticket voting has been declining in popularity nationally during the last decade. Rhode Island was the latest to eliminate the option with legislation that took effect this month.

“West Virginia is an outlier on this,” Trump told MetroNews “Talkline” on Wednesday. “We’re one of only a few states that permit a person to make one mark and vote for all the candidates in one party or the other.”

The proposal would prohibit straight-ticket voting on paper and electronic ballots.

Straight-ticket voting has longed been favored by Democrats who still hold a state majority in voter registrations. Yet Trump said he’s also hearing from Republicans who are against a repeal.

“There have been some concerns expressed because in West Virginia there were apparently more Republican straight-ticket votes cast in the last election than there were Democratic (straight-ticket) votes cast,” Trump said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 249 unanimously during a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the State Capitol.

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  • Barry Bledsoe

    When I see comments such as those made by AJ and Freedom (Lost) I just shake my head. Wow....

  • 1981

    80+ years of dumbocratic control of West Virginia surely proves your statement.

  • joey dirt

    and as a life long independant, i just cant bring myself to hit the straight ticket button. althought ive never voted for any republican, im open to the idea of it if they ever come up with one half way intelligent idea for fixing this country (not to say dems have all the answers, but they are no where near as absurd)

  • Neal

    WV is not the only coal producing state in the U.S., not by a long shot. Are you saying we are the only state that has "coal barons"? Other coal producing states seemed to have found a way to be prosperous while mining coal. It's hard for me to fathom how you can think that I'm the one who needs a clue after 80 years of last place. Look in the mirror friend.

  • Jonus Grumby

    You nailed it again, Randy.

  • Jonus Grumby

    I'm a republican and I think you are right. They should leave it alone. There are bigger fish to fry.

  • Jonus Grumby

    Stupider? I rest my case.

  • Jonus Grumby


  • Jonus Grumby

    As a lifelong conservative, I have never (and it is unlikely that I ever will) vote a straight ticket. If someone is dumb enough to do that, it's up to them.

  • Bruiser

    I don't think I have ever voted a straight ticket. I personally go through and could care less who has a "D" or "R" behind their name, but who I think would do the best for my state and country. Someone who votes a straight ticket to me care more about their party than the true issues facing our state and country, maybe just maybe this is why our state and country are in the mess that they are.

  • me

    Im for that, Voting straight ticket is BS

  • Richard

    Now that would be a law that would hurt the democrats.

  • MountainSon

    removing straight ticket makes you think about the person- not the party. Two party- extremes view politics is the problem here.

    Don't like the constant swing of one party starting a project and two years later the house changing and another party killing it? Then Vote moderate.

    Still end up liking all for one party or another? Then take the extra 4 God damn minutes it takes to click through and go about your day.


  • AJ

    GOP is after their OWN special interest. Ask Bill Cole and his car dealership lead "As is" Lemon Law repeal.

  • AJ

    only because the teacher unions found out the state budget doesn't feature a 2 percent pay raise. The GOP would pay them pennies on the dollar if they could.

  • AJ

    Guess what Neal the Republicians will plan to be below Puerto Rico if these policies they set up are passed and signed.

    Coal barons screwed this state not politicians.

    Get a bleeping clue!

  • AJ

    And the Party of Stupid Prcks keep getting stupider. I will Dem til the day I die. Eat garbage GOP.

  • Jimmy

    Don't forget increasing the starting wages of Teachers to 43K.

  • Wendell

    Too funny... See Republicans like to take away things as well. They blame Dems for taking away all our rights (really just guns they refer to) but Rethugs take away pensions, retirements, voting rights, civil rights, pay check protection, miner's rights, over time pay, etc., etc., HEALTH CARE!
    I worked with a guy once as conservative Republican as they come. He always criticized straight ticket voting. Knowing he never voted for a Democrat ever I asked him so you mean you never voted straight GOP ticket. Well, I vote for each individual Republican on the ballot.
    LOL crazy people.


    If I choose not to waste my time reading every name on a ballot that is my decision, You may say that is stupid but with the people running for office are always from the same cookie cutter. Promise the world and give you the shaft. I choose to vote so I can complain about it, If I didn't you would say you shouldn't complain if you did not vote. I still am thankful for the right this country gave me to vote. I fought for that right and I will defend it til th day I die.

  • rick


  • rick

    I remember when Gov. Cecil Underwood said the biggest problem we had in WV was straight ticket voting. It always made me wonder how he got elected as a Republican and we still had a Democratic (DINO) Legislature. Voting a straight ticket is an option that should be retained because some folks want to vote that way...most don't but some still do.

  • susanf1218

    That is the lamest thing I have ever heard! People who have such serious health issues that it "limits their ability to stand" for the extra few seconds it might take to review the ballot and mark each vote individually can always request an absentee ballot - or a chair. I'm sure the voting places would make an accommodation for someone if needed. And sample ballots are printed in the newspapers prior to the elections, so voters can review the ballot and know who is running and what the layout of the ballot is so they can be familiar with it before going into the voting booth. Not to mention that with early voting it is no longer an issue to have to wait in long lines to vote. And the only "message" that gets sent is in the outcome of the vote, not whether people vote straight ticket or not.

  • susanf1218

    How is your freedom of choice being affected?? You can still vote for whomever you choose! Don't be ridiculous!

  • UFO


  • Randy

    True. Sadly we have lots of sheep. I know lots of idiots on both sides. Their party can do no wrong.

  • Freedom (lost)

    Just another freedom of CHOICE taken away from people. Don't you understand that.

  • Neal

    I find it hilarious that democrats had control of the legislature for 80+ years and managed to do nothing but put us in last place in everything. Republicans have been in control for all of three weeks and for every bill that is proposed we hear "come on republicans I thought you were going to fix everything!!!". Note to the lefties: 85 years of screw up can't be fixed in three weeks.

  • CaptainQ

    I can see why the Democratic Party of WV would be fighting this chance tooth and nail.

    Removing straight party voting would virtually eliminate one of their strongest voting blocks: the 'graveyard' voters in the southern counties! How can these 'faithful' voters be expected to enter individual entries on their ballots instead of the one for the straight Democratic Party ticket? This would be a hardship for them! After all, being deceased isn't easy, y'know!

    This is an outrage to all dead voters in WV! This bill MUST be stopped! Watch the Democrat lawmakers in Charleston howl in protest at this measure! They truly know what's at stake here.

  • Pete

    Thank you, senators!

    Just today I was driving around wondering which pothole was going to take out one of my tires. And I thought to myself, "why do we still have straight party voting"?

  • Don from Morgantown

    You Sir have no idea what you are talking about. Hanging chads are nothing like this

  • Independant

    It doesn't make any difference to the voter either way. Yes this bill is kinda a waste of time, but at the same time it forces ppl to be more informed. I can see why the republicans want it. Not sure why the democrats are so upset other than they just like to argue everything.

  • Thecrow2123

    No where near the same as Florida since we don't use paper ballots. Your argument there is null and void.

    As far as people knowing who their voting for, that's a fallacy. I bet half the people of most states couldn't even tell you who their governor is let alone anyone else and WV would be no different.

    The only voter this would be a slap in the face to are the low info, no info voter who will vote one side or the other based on party alone even if doing so, "Obama" may actually hurt them or their state simply because their clueless.

    If this would in some way cause people who vote to actually research each candidate even a little it would be a great step toward an informed electorate and probably better government.

  • UFO

    Anyone that votes straight ticket is a shamefully stupid, bleating sheep. That's not even up for question. we need legislation for it?

  • ViennaGuy

    - it is just another Republican stunt to discourage folks who are pressed for time or suffer health issues that limit their ability to stand or who just want to send a message by voting a straight ticket from exercising their rights. -

    People have a 'right' to vote a straight ticket by marking one single box on a ballot? Where is this 'right' written?

    As for being pressed for time or having health issues, what's stopping those people from voting absentee?

  • J C

    Remember Florida 2000 election? Butterfly ballots? People thought they were voting Democrat, punched holes for GOP candidates. Doing away with straight ticket voting makes this a possibility here in WV.
    Besides, most people know who they're voting for before election day. What a slap in the face to the electorate.

  • susanf1218

    No one is suggesting that you can't continue to vote for all Democrat or all Republican candidates. This would simply mean that the voter would have to actually take the time to review the ballot and make each selection individually. And maybe become a bit more educated about who the candidates are and what their positions are on the issues. Sounds like a good idea to me. An uninformed vote is worse than no vote at all.

  • Ed

    The majority rules---sets the rules.
    That is the way it has always been. Why the surprise?

  • Mike

    If it's been so bad why didn't you and your family leave years ago?

  • John Johnson

    I believe the writers of out Constitution would smile on United States voters if we as the voting public would read the names of all candidates and levies, etc., before voting singlurly on respectivee choices withour an outside influence suggesting or urging you to follow their lead.

  • BH

    I've never voted a straight ticket. However, if a voter chooses to do so, that should be their business not Charles Trumps. Who is he to presume that West Virginian voters haven't reviewed the ballot before election day. How pompous and condescending.

  • thornton

    It's tough to legislate intelligence.....aren't there some potholes that need filled?

  • arp

    That would be so, if Dems were purely liberal and GOP was purely conservative. But there are many DINOs and RINOs running for office. Party affiliation, especially in West Virginia which has so long been a one-party state, doesn't mean that much. And just doing away with straight ticket voting doesn't mean that candidates won't be identified with a political party, anyway. You can still vote "straight ticket" if you're so mindless, but it will just require you to go through the ballot and check each one.

  • Jephre

    I bet you voted straight-ticket Democrat, right?

  • liberty4all

    Try the last 150+. I know it doesn't have the same ring as "80 years", but still holds true.

  • Wirerowe

    Two things some people who vote straight ticket voting have no idea who they are voting for. Second if the voting was about the principles of a party and not about the individual candidates why are the names of individuals on the ballot. You can take an extra minute at the polling booth if you wish to vote for all democrats by voting for them individually. West Virginia is outdated and an outlier on this. Regardless of which party benefits straight ticket voting the option should be eliminated.

  • David

    Go back and look who started it ..

  • David

    Outlaw electronic voting as well, it is wrought with fraud..

  • Jason

    The last 80+ years have not exactly been kind to West Virginia, in case you failed to notice.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    Agree 100% on this one.

  • Tom

    Voting a straight ticket means that you are voting for the PRINCIPLES that your party supports...and that you are entrusting those people on the ballot to support those PRINCIPLES. There's nothing wrong with that.

  • JimmyO

    This is purely a Republican attempt to enact laws to help them win more elections. The Republicans know that there are far more Democrats who vote the straight ticket than Republicans in WV. They've wanted this changed for years. This is all about them - Politics as usual.

  • J the C

    To me,I cast a vote for an individual, not a party. Most of the time, I end up voting a "straight ticket", but only because I click on candidates who are members of the same party.
    If you haven't taken the time to educate yourself about the candidates and the issues, you shouldn't be voting.

    That being said, I agree with several of the posters who have questioned Republican priorities in setting their agenda. In the big picture, this is about as important as making it illegal to photograph corpses. Come on, righties, you've made a lot of promises...start delivering.

  • arp

    This is an excellent bill! Why facilitate lazy, mindless, partisan voting for any of the political parties? Other states long ago quite properly terminated straight ticket ballots. And these are most certainly not "meaningless bills." If so, why would the majority party have any opposition to them? In other words, why do the Democrats fear such legislation?

  • Ray

    The voters of West Virginia were duped this past election cycle.
    Voters listened to the propaganda of outside groups, and now the real agenda is coming forward in these types of meaningless bills.
    You had eighty years of Democrates because it was the right thing to do.

    Now you get to live with it West Virginia.

  • army

    Same old, same old ... doesn't matter who we send to Charleston. As long as they fool with this kind of fluff, they don't have to think about the roads. So far, all they've done is look at stripping more of our rights.

  • harvey

    it is just another Republican stunt to discourage folks who are pressed for time or suffer health issues that limit their ability to stand or who just want to send a message by voting a straight ticket from exercising their rights. These people want to invade every part of your life--the bedroom, the doctors office, the jury room and now the voting booth. You are right Tim--total bull crap--wrapped in a nice package in Charlie Trumps neat appearance, but bull crap nonetheless.

  • Tom m.

    The red lawmakers need to worry about more important things like the platform they run on, jobs. What a waste of money sending them to Charleston.

  • Tim

    That is freakin' bull-crap. Who are they to tell me how to cast my vote. The only thing this will accomplish is driving voters away. It's stupid.

  • ViennaGuy

    Not sure what the benefit is from this proposal ...

  • liberty4all

    Don't do it myself but don't see the need to to eliminate it either. If someone wants to vote a straight party ticket, let them.

    Come on folks, let's start addressing what ails this state.