Master lever bill approved by House panel

The House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation that would eliminate the so-called master lever in Rhode Island.

The committee heard testimony on the measure Tuesday, along with other election-related bills. Rhode Island is one of more than two dozen states that still give voters the option of voting for all the candidates of one party with a single mark on the ballot.

Critics of straight-ticket voting say it's confusing and undemocratic and hurts candidates running in nonpartisan races.

About a quarter of Rhode Island voters in the November 2012 election used the master lever; three-fourths supported Democrats.

A companion bill was heard on the Senate side earlier this month, but it was held for further study.

The full House will now vote on its own version.