Meg Rogers: Abolishing the Master Lever Will Promote, Not Hinder, Democracy
We, as a society, need to give deference to traditions upon which good governance is built, but, like corsets, manual typewriters, and LP records, the Rhode Island “Master Lever’s” time has passed. It is time to allow it to retire with dignity into the memories of our grandparents and public affairs’ historians.
Contrary to what some may say, eliminating “straight party voting” will not result in civil unrest, locusts or the plague. It will not hinder democracy—rather, it will promote it.
In an increasingly complex world, ending the Master Lever will remove a needless barrier to thoughtful voter participation. By removing it, you actually promote voter literacy because voters must pay attention to each and every electoral race and to each and every ballot question or referendum before them. In Narragansett where I live, many voters in 2012 chose the Master Lever for the Moderate Party, even though there were no Moderate Party candidates listed on our ballot. This is not working.
There are no reasons to continue this archaic practice. Please, do not keep Rhode Island behind the curve as we know the majority of states do not permit straight-party voting. Out of the more than 1500 bills submitted before you this legislative session, this one is truly a “no brainer.” Please pass this bill and get back to the business of helping business, and restoring our business climate so that people can work, live and thrive in our beautiful State.
[Meg Rogers is Chair of the Narragansett GOP. This is the testimony that she gave to the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee last week. Visit the Narragansett GOP Facebook page here.]