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Split Ticket (ticket splitting)

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Ticket splitting is the process by which voters will choose different parties for different offices in elections. To put more simply, in an election whereby several offices are all being contested on a single ballot, to split a ticket, voters will vote one party for one office, and a different party for another.

To give an example in a presidential year electors in the state of Ohio will face on a single ballot paper a choice for President, US Senator, US Representative and an entire host of local races too. In order to split the ticket, a voter may decide to vote for the Republicans in the Presidential Race, vote Democrat for the Senate and Republican for the House. This would be a split ticket vote.

Split ticket voting is on the rise in the US and there is empirical data to back this up. For example in the 2012 election cycle in the State of Missouri voters backed Mitt Romney for the Republicans by a margin of 53.76% to 44.38% in the Presidential Race, whereas in the race for Governor, Missouri elected Jay Nixon for the Democrats as Governor by a margin of 54.7% to 42.6%. This is a prime example of split ticket voting.

Other examples include Montana in 2004 which elected a Democrat Governor but voted for Republican George W Bush as President, Massachusetts voted Democrat in most national elections, yet often elected a Republican Governor.

A split ticket vote contrasts to a straight ticket vote, whereby voters will vote for one party, for all offices being contested.

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