How straight ticket voting affects local races

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TENNESSEE VALLEY (WHNT) - Straight ticket voting may make for an efficient experience at the polls, but it may not be the most effective.

In high profile races, like governor, party affiliation can be key.

However, when it comes to many local offices, WHNT News 19 Political Analyst Jess Brown says the letters on the ballot do no necessarily reflect the functions of the job.

In this case, this is where Brown says straight ticket voting can be detrimental.

"There may be a candidate that maybe you would consider voting for and if you vote straight ticket, now, unless you vote for the party of that particular candidate, you're in effect voting against that candidate. There is some danger."

It is a symptom of the system.

Alabama requires a party label for many races. So offices like sheriff, state auditor and coroner are required to chose a side, though it has little to do with the actual position.

Brown says it is important to know who is getting your vote and what races you impact by voting straight ticket.

"There are a lot of positions, especially in local government, that the voters actually expect the official not to be partisan. They just expect these administrative type jobs to be performed in a frugal, efficient manner."

It is possible for voters to mark straight ticket on the ballot but still make a selection for a specific office not in that party. The individual vote will override the straight party vote in that category only.