Measure would remove judges, DAs, other county officials from straight ticket voting
Feb. 16, 2015 at 1:16 p.m.
Updated March 5, 2015 at 7:33 a.m.
State Rep. Jason Villalba has filed legislation that would exempt judges, district attorneys, sheriffs and other county officials from straight-ticket ballots in counties with more than 1 million population.
Tax assessors, constables, and criminal and civil court judges also would be removed from such voting.
“We need to get away from straight-ticket voting and focus more on qualifications, criteria and ability, rather than party affiliation,” Villalba said.
But candidates, like now, would run in partisan races and under party labels. The bill would simply force voters to take the time to select a candidate in those races, instead of quickly and efficiently voting along party lines, which typically takes one motion.
Villalba, a Dallas Republican, said he prefers removing all “non-policy making elected offices” from partisan elections, but that would take a Constitutional referendum.
“If we thought we could get a Constitutional Amendment passed, that’s the direction we would go,” Villaba said.
He acknowledged the legislation faces an uphill battle.
"It's my hope that if passed, this legislation will result in the election of more qualified officeholders, and stronger local governments," Villalba said.