On July 28, Robert J. Healey and eleven other voters filed a lawsuit in federal court, to stop the use of a straight-ticket device in Rhode Island. Healey is on the ballot as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in November, with the partisan label “Cool Moose Party.” Because his party is not ballot-qualified (although it was in the past) it won’t have a straight-ticket device on the November ballot. Only the Democratic, Moderate and Republican Parties will have such a device. The lawsuit charges that the straight-ticket device, as used in Rhode Island, is discriminatory.
The lawsuit also argues that the straight-ticket device does not work well with the kind of vote-counting system Rhode Island uses. When a voter pushes the straight-ticket button, the face of the ballot (on a computer screen) does not make it obvious to the voter whom he or she has just voted for. Also it causes many voters to ignore the parts of the ballot that contain ballot questions and non-partisan races. The case is Healey v State of Rhode Island, cv-10-316S. It has a hearing on August 5 at 9 a.m.