Federal Judge Blocks Michigan Ban on Straight-Ticket Voting

Andy Meisner Treasurer TOPFederal Pledge_side_blueJudge Blocks Michigan Ban on Straight-Ticket Voting

(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 21, 2016)

Detroit, MI – US District Court Judge Gershwin A. Drain placed four preliminary injunctions to prohibit Michigan from enforcing a new law that bans straight-ticket voting.

According the The Detroit News, “the real question the court must answer, Drain wrote, is whether the burden caused by the law is ‘in part caused by or linked to ‘social and historical conditions that have produced or currently produce discrimination against African American.’  This question is unavoidably answered in the affirmative. African-Americans are much more likely to vote Democrat than other ethnic groups, and many feel this is largely ctechaddue to racially charged political stances taken by Republicans on the local, state and national level since the post-World War II era,” Drain wrote.

In January Governor Rick Snyder signed the bill into law.  Because the bill has a $5 million appropriation attached to it, voters can not reverse the law with a citizen’s referendum.

The appropriation is slated to fund new voting equipment.  Michigan was one of only ten states that had straight ticket voting.  The League of Women Voters and several other organizations spoke out against eliminating the straight ticket voting option, saying that it would cause increased delays on Election Day.   The League of Women Voters Michigan gave several reasons why they opposed the bill to eliminate straight ticket voting:

~It minimizes options available to voters who clearly draw lines down Jacks Adpartisan lines – this applies to both parties and across the state in urban, rural and suburban precincts,
~It leads to longer lines at the polls, which disenfranchises voters. According to the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, Michigan ranks 6th in the nation for longest wait in line,
~It leads to incomplete voting that suppresses the vote – the Citizen’s Research Council reports that, “A single voter is asked in an election cycle to vote on between 54 and 150 officials of state government and the judiciary and from 23 to 37 local government officials” and,
~It increases the cost for elections because additional machines need to be purchased and more staff needs to be hired.

Dan Farough, spokesman for Common Cause Michigan, issued a statement.

“Lansing politicians should have never banned straight-ticket voting. The law they passed would choke off the voices of millions of Michiganders and make tens of thousands more stand in longer lines to be heard on Election Day. garden16_monte_albertCommon Cause Michigan calls on Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette to accept this decision without an appeal and allow November’s general election to proceed with the straight-ticket voting option,” Farough said.

This story is in progress and may be updated through the evening.

Read more about the ban in our previous story at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2016/01/05/no-more-straight-ticket-voting-in-michigan-as-governor-signs-bill-into-law/

Read more about today’s decision in The Detroit News at www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/07/21/straight-ticket/87391606/.

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