Straight-Ticket Voting Higher in Linn Than Johnson County

By James Q. Lynch, Reporter

Voters line up at the satellite voting station outside of the Hy-Vee location on 1st Ave NE on Thursday, October 4, 2012. This location will be open from 9-3 on Friday and Saturday. (Kyle Grillot/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - More than 40 percent of Linn County voters took a shortcut on the way to casting their ballots in the Nov. 6 general election.

According to the Board of Supervisors’ official canvass Nov. 14, 43 percent of the 118,711 people who voted in Linn County voted a straight party ticket.

In Johnson County, there was a much lower rate of straight-ticket voting, according to the official canvass, also conducted Wednesday.

There, 20 percent or 15,319 Democrats and 6,457 or 8.5 percent of Republicans cast straight tickets. Overall, 76,199 people voted in Johnson County.

Iowa is one of 16 states which allow voters to vote a straight party ballot, that is, cast a ballot for everyone on the ballot listed under a particular party.

The percentage of Linn County voters casting straight-ticket ballots this year was higher than in recent presidential election years. Straight-ticket voting accounted for 38.5 percent of the ballots cast in 2004, 37.9 percent in 2008 and 36.2 percent in 2000.

In an off-year election in 2010, 46 percent of voters cast straight-ticket ballots, according to the Linn County Auditor’s Office.

The straight-ticket vote in Johnson County was in line with presidential elections in 2008 and 2000 – 27.1 and 28.9 percent, respectively. It was lower than the 32.7 percent of Johnson County voters who voted straight ballots in 2004.

Straight-ticket voting was higher in Johnson County – 29, 34.5 and 32.7 percent, respectively, in 2010, 2006 and 2002, according to the auditor’s website.

According to the canvass, nearly two-thirds of the straight-ticket votes were cast by Linn County Democrats. They cast 33,054 or 64 percent of the straight-ticket votes. Republicans cast 18,499 or 36 percent of the straight-ticket votes.

In Johnson County, Democrats cast 70 percent of the straight-ticket ballots, according to the canvass.

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