Clerks, advocates for seniors and the disabled, and regular citizens heaped criticism Thursday on a Republican proposal to end straight-party voting in Michigan. The House Elections Committee took about an hour 90 minutes of testimony, but adjourned Thursday evening without voting on Senate Bill 13. State Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, the committee chairwoman, said the committee would continue to take a look at the bills and hopes to move the straight ticket bill along with one that would approve no reason absentee voting. The committee heard testimony Thursday that was overwhelmingly opposed to the change as one that would cause longer lines to vote and that would especially disadvantage black voters. Only East Lansing election lawyer Eric Doster testified in support of the bill, saying it would be beneficial for democracy.
Though Republicans say the change will encourage more civic engagement in voting, Democrats see the legislation as a power play by the Republican-controlled Legislature that will benefit the GOP but result in longer voting lines, particularly in cities.
Sen. Marty Knollenbrerg, R-Troy, the sponsor, described the proposed change as an election reform that will end “the broken, archaic method of rubber-stamping candidate slates with a single vote.”
He said 40 states have now eliminated the straight-ticket box option, including Democratic-leaning states such as New York and Republican-leaning states such as Georgia. “People can still vote for all Democrats or all Republicans when a straight-ticket voting box option is not available,” Knollenberg said.
Full Article: Clerks, voters rip plan to end straight-ticket voting.