Ballot Order

A federal judge has struck down a Florida law that needed striking. It’s the one that requires candidates from the party that occupies the governor’s mansion to be placed first on the ballot. It’s been on the books since 1951, when Democrat Fuller Warren was governor. (Yes, I looked that up.) The judge wrote that such ballot placement has given Republicans over the last 20 years a roughly 5 percent advantage–the so-called “primacy effect”–at the polls. The judge offered suggestions, including alphabetizing–but not decrees–as ways to undo the advantage.

A couple of takeaways: We should all be able to agree that a fairer ballot is a better ballot. It’s also worth pondering how a serious, properly prepared voter could mismark a ballot belying that voter’s intention. Some onus has to be on the electorate. Now more than ever.

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