The signing by Gov. Rick Snyder of legislation to eliminate straight party voting in Michigan on Jan. 5 has received support from some local clerks, who say the measure would force voters to “do their homework” about individual candidates instead of automatically voting for all Democrats or all Republicans on the ballot, while others criticize the bill. “It takes the politics out of voting, and I’m in support of it,” Shelby Township Clerk Stanley Grot said. “While it will be more of a challenge for voters to study the candidates, I think it’s a good thing. It may take a little more time, but I think it’s a good thing because the voters will have to do their homework before they head to the polls.”
According to Snyder, the legislation will update the state’s election law and align Michigan more closely with other states by eliminating the option for voters to select a straight-party ticket on the ballot. “Michigan is one of only 10 states that allows residents to vote for just a party affiliation rather than individual people,” Snyder said in a press release. “It’s time to choose people over politics.”
Straight party voting allows voters to choose all of the candidates from one party – Democrat or Republican – by checking a box at the top of the ballot.
Under the bill signed Jan. 5, voters can still select all the candidates in one party, but will no longer have the option to check the box and automatically vote for all of their party’s candidates.