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Straight-ticket voting hurts our Democracy. In Rhode Island, straight-ticket voting allows voters to make one mark to vote for ALL candidates of a single political party while bypassing individual races. Straight-ticket is the first option on the RI ballot and it oversimplifies the voting process because it does not encourage voters to learn about individual races or candidates. Rhode Island ballot access laws make it difficult for third party candidates to qualify for straight-ticket voting, and independent candidates CANNOT qualify. However, even if acquired, straight-ticket voting status does not benefit candidates who lack the name recognition of the major political parties. Therefore, straight-ticket voting gives an unfair advantage to major political parties and their candidates over third party and independent candidates, and as a result, denies voters more choices. As of 2007, Rhode Island is one of only 16 states that still allow straight-ticket voting. We urge our lawmakers to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Rhode Island.

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