Republicans’ push to eliminate Michigan’s straight-party voting option may improve the odds of voters being allowed to cast an absentee ballot for any reason. A key lawmaker is pushing for House passage of her “no-reason” absentee bill in the coming week. The legislation would let all voters apply for an absentee application in person at their local clerk’s office without needing an excuse. Under current law, absentee voters must be 60 years or older, be out of town when the polls are open, be an election worker or be unable to vote on Election Day due to a physical disability, religious tenets or incarceration. House Elections Committee Chairwoman Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, said her bill would alleviate potential longer lines if voters are prohibited from voting a straight ticket of one party’s candidate with a single mark. The GOP-controlled Senate last month OK’d ending the straight-party option. Lyons’ panel heard testimony on the straight-ticket legislation Thursday but did not vote, a day after moving the no-excuse absentee voting bill to the House floor.
“They complement one another and I’d like to see them moved and enacted together,” Lyons said. Expanding absentee voting, she said, would keep voters from lying about their whereabouts on Election Day.
Election clerks, who support the convenience of straight-party voting and worry about confusion, wait times and down-ballot drop-off if the option goes away, said they would be more open to its elimination if no-reason absentee voting is authorized.
Lyons’ bill would not let “no-reason” voters ask for a ballot by mail. They would have to visit the clerk in person within 75 days of every election.
Full Article: House bill would allow no-reason absentee voting.