We like the idea of doing away with the straight-ticket voting option in Iowa.
State Rep. Peter Cownie, R-West Des Moines, has introduced such a bill in the Legislature. It's scheduled to be discussed in the House State Government Committee this week.
Like Cownie, we believe elimination of the straight-ticket option would lead to more Iowans learning more about individual candidates for public office and political races, thus allowing them to cast more-informed votes.
"I think an educated voter is a better vote, and this will help them do that," Cownie said in a Quad-City Times story published in the Journal on Monday.
We agree with him.
Straight-ticket voting is lazy voting, in our view. Still, voters have every right to vote for all Republicans or all Democrats if they wish, and Cownie's bill does not take away this right. Even if a straight-ticket option didn't exist on the ballot, voters could (and some would) fill in the ovals for all candidates of one party or another.
If this choice wasn't so easily available, though, we believe more voters would spend more time getting to know more about all of the candidates on the ballot.
A side benefit of the bill is this: Nonpartisan questions on the back of the ballot wouldn't be so easily forgotten or ignored.
Only 15 states allow straight-ticket voting (Nebraska and South Dakota do not, for example), and five of those states are considering legislative bills to do away with it this year, including Iowa.
Like voter IDs, which we also support, Cownie's bill speaks to improved integrity within the process of voting. We urge its passage.