State Capitol, P.O. Box 7882, Madison, WI 53707-7882  |  Call Toll-Free: (800) 249-8173  |  Email Senator Carpenter  |  Subscribe to E-Updates


Voting for Best Candidate in Primaries Should Be Allowed

Voters frustrated with gerrymandered legislative districts should be empowered to “split” primary ballot votes.

Madison - State Senator Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) today introduced a bill to change the election laws to allow voters the chance to pick the best candidate for an office in a primary election, regardless of which political party the candidate belongs to.

At present, a voter in a partisan primary election may cast a ballot in the column of only one major political party.

“One of the consequences of the last redistricting of legislative boundaries has been to dramatically reduce the number of competitive seats. This sometimes makes the primary more important than the general election as the party affiliation of the winning candidate is almost a foregone conclusion,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter referenced a court’s recent ruling that Wisconsin’s maps are so improper that the court ordered that they be re-drawn.

“Many of my constituents tell me that they are frustrated because they want to vote for the person, not the party.  They would like to choose the best candidate for the office in a primary – regardless of party – just as they do on a general election ballot,” said Carpenter.

Under the bill, a voter may still vote for only one candidate for each office.

Senator Carpenter also noted that “Voters should not be disenfranchised from voting for the best candidate in a primary just because they believe candidates from different parties would best represent them for different elective offices,” said Carpenter.

“I will continue to fight to make sure the voters can select the candidate they wish to support in both primary and general elections,” said Carpenter.