Eliminating straight-ticket voting is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit Tuesday. “Voters are going to be forced to vote the entire ballot, which will cause tremendous congestion and lines, which means people aren’t going to be able to wait to vote,” said Mark Brewer, one of the lead lawyers in the case and the former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Voters will be disenfranchised, and this is going to be particularly bad in African-American voting precincts.” Straight-ticket voting allows voters to fill in one box on the ballot to support all Democrats or all Republicans all the way down the ballot. Local clerks have said the option has helped speed voting lines, which tend to get quite long, especially in urban areas during presidential election years. In 2008, voters in Detroit reported lines that lasted more than two hours.
But, mostly along party lines with the bare minimum of 54-52 votes, Republicans in the House agreed with the Senate and voted in December to eliminate the straight-ticket voting options. Forty other states have eliminated the straight-party voting option. Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill in January, but said the Legislature also should pass a bill that would allow voters to cast absentee ballots without having to provide a reason.
The House has passed a no-reason absentee voting bill, but it is unlikely to be brought up in the state Senate before the November election.
The lawsuit filed against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson by the Michigan State A. Philip Randolph Institute, a civil rights group linked to the AFL-CIO, requests that the law be ruled unconstitutional and that the court restrict it from going into effect.
Full Article: Lawsuit challenges elimination of straight-ticket voting.