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If you punch Barack Obama for president and then punch Straight Ticket you will NEGATE your vote.

Sent to me by a Friend….

First, the obligatory Urban Legends Archive link for authenticity, followed by their text, which is pretty easy to follow, and short enough to not be annoying:

Straight Ticket

Claim: Voters need to be cautious when using “straight ticket” voting in the upcoming presidential election.

Status: True.


[Collected via e-mail, September 2008]

Just Passing this on…Make sure you do the same!!!!!!!!

For those who normally vote “Straight Democratic”, please pay close attention!!!!! I was informed this weekend by a group of Obama volunteers that when voting for the presidential candidate this November, you have to make sure you punch Barack’s name first, then proceed to punch “Straight Democratic” or else the vote for the president won’t count. I’m not sure if any of you are aware of this, but we know they won’t tell us this at the polls. Please make sure you inform others.

[Collected via e-mail, October 2008]

To All Addressed:

I am a “big time” Democrat and an informed voter who recently volunteered for Barack Obama in New Mexico this past week. As an informed voter, I questioned the message sent below and decided to verify what I already know.

If you punch Barack Obama for president and then punch Straight Ticket you will NEGATE your vote. Again, you will negate your vote. If you do not believe me, please call the Harris County Democratic Party office at 713-802-0085.

Tell all your friends to vote either STRAIGHT TICKET or PUNCH EACH DEMOCRAT individually. Do not double vote, it negates your ballot and it will be thrown out.

Be informed!!!!!

Origins: Some voters choose to select candidates individually regardless of party affiliation (i.e., they may vote for a Republican candidate for one office but a Democratic candidate for another office), and some voters choose to go with what is known as a “straight ticket” (i.e., they cast their ballots for all the candidates of one party). The ballots in some states simplify the process of straight ticket voting (STV): Rather than having to vote for every candidate from a particular party individually, the voter can fill in a bubble, or punch a hole, or mark a box, or pull a lever that is indicated as casting votes for all candidates of a specified party in partisan offices.

The first forwarded item quoted above warns voters that their voting a straight ticket may not result in their casting a ballot for their party’s presidential candidate — their presidential selections have to be undertaken separately from the straight ticket voting process. Like many voting procedures, this claim may or may not be true, depending upon the voting regulations in effect in the state or county where you vote. As the Charlotte Observer recently cautioned readers, for example, North Carolina voters do indeed need to specifically select a presidential candidate in addition to voting a straight ticket:
Imagine you are a first time voter with a desire to vote straight party — to vote for all the candidates of a particular party. If you look at the official ballot that all [North Carolina] counties are set to use on Nov. 4, you’ll find the following sentence: “A Straight Party vote is a vote for all candidates of that party in partisan offices. Individual partisan office selections are not necessary if you select a Straight Party below.”

If you followed those directions, filled in the Democratic or Republican oval in the Straight Party Voting section and then left, you might think you’d just voted for president.

But you would be wrong.

On North Carolina’s ballot, the presidential contest is not included in the list of “Partisan Offices.” In order to cast a vote for president and a straight party vote, you need to make two marks — one in the presidential contest and the other in the straight party section. (And a straight-ticket vote does not cast a vote in judicial races, because those are nonpartisan.)

A state law passed in 1967 prohibits the combination of the vote for the president with any other office on the ballot.
As far as we know, North Carolina is the only state affected by this particular issue.

The second forwarded example quoted above warns about the reverse situation: That erring on the side of caution and marking a ballot for a presidential candidate in addition to selecting a straight ticket option could produce a ballot that would be considered “spoiled” in locations where voting regulations do not exclude presidential races from straight ticket voting. The origin of this claim seems to be a problem with voting machines in a New Mexico county that were discovered to be incorrectly tabulating results for ballots marked for a straight ticket during a pre-election check in early October 2008. However, election officials maintain the glitch was corrected the same day it was found:
A glitch that would have kept votes from being counted in the presidential and other top-of-the-ticket races was discovered during a pre-election check of a voting machine in Santa Fe County, officials said.

The error was found and corrected the same day, said Denise Lamb, who heads the elections bureau in the county clerk’s office.

The problem in the coding of the machine’s memory card would have prevented the tabulating machine from counting the votes in the presidential, U.S. Senate and 3rd District congressional races when Democrats or Republicans marked their ballots indicating they wanted to vote a straight ticket.
The best advice to ensure your votes count as you intend is to study a sample ballot in advance, read the ballot and voting instructions provided to you at the polling place carefully before casting your vote(s), and ask a poll worker for assistance if you are unsure about any aspect of the voting procedures. If you think you may have spoiled your ballot, do not hesitate to report the situation to a poll worker.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some political parties may not field candidates for every single partisan office on a ballot, so by selecting a straight ticket you may end up not voting at all in some races. Therefore, if you plan to vote a straight ticket, you might want to review your ballot first to verify that your party has a candidate running for every partisan office listed (and also be sure to cast votes for non-partisan offices not included in the straight ticket selection process). As they say, “If you’re going to take the time to vote, take a few extra seconds and make every vote count.”

Last updated: 16 October 2008

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Sources Sources:

Baker, Deborah. “Officials Find, Fix Glitch in NM Voting Machine.”
Associated Press. 7 October 2008.

Hamilton, James T. “Straight-Ticket Omits Presidential Race.”
Charlotte Observer. 14 October 2008.

Charleston Gazette. “State Ballot Problems Alleged.”
13 October 2008.

There are much more in-depth articles on the subject from most major News sources, and I implore you all to check with your local group that oversees Elections to see if this is even an issue. Furthermore, if you are reading this, then in some way, shape or form I love and/or care about you in some way, and just want to make sure your voice is heard, no matter if it agrees with mine or not. Early Voting has already started in most places, and I would encourage y’all to take advantage of it to avoid long lines and eqipment failures on Election Day. Implore YOUR friends and families to get out and vote! And for everyone; I hope this message finds you and yours doing well and that you have a great week! 🙂

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