Of all the things that make our country great, nothing is more universally cherished than our right to vote. Americans choose their own destiny, and they exercise that choice through the democratic process. We are born and raised into thinking of our system as generally idyllic, or close to it. Considering how far we’ve come, it’s no surprise that many people are resistant to change or hesitant to move in any direction out of fear that we are undermining a fundamental element of our American rights. However, who can vote and how are factors that have undergone both societal and constitutional change over the course of our nation’s history. A brief look at our past will confirm that the willingness to revisit or redefine our voting process is generally for the better, when the goal is a more representative democracy. Michigan is one of only 10 states that still uses straight-ticket voting. Why should we settle for less?
Straight-ticket voting is a legacy from the early days of elections when the party bosses, not the government, printed the ballots. This was before the information age when parties united around the notion of shared principles because it helped during elections and at the polls to more easily identify what a candidate stood for. In that sense, straight-ticket voting was quite logical, as it spoke to what most closely resembled a voter’s views when there was no additional information about candidates beyond their affiliation.
With TV, campaign websites, Facebook and Twitter, we now live an age where you can access swaths of information about public figures. Lawmakers are a product of the information age, and it’s nearly impossible to get elected without some kind of digital presence. Voters expect it, and rightly so, because they deserve to know who they are voting for.
Full Article: Michigan should do away with the straight-ticket option.