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      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.