A group of African American labor activists is suing in U.S. District Court to stop a new law eliminating straight-ticket voting. The Michigan A. Philip Randolph Institute is being represented by former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer, an attorney with Southfield-based Goodman Acker P.C. The group is suing Secretary of State Ruth Johnson in her official capacity and hopes to stop enforcement before November elections, Brewer said. Public Act 268, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed in January, eliminates an option for voters to vote for all partisan positions by choosing either an all-Republican or all-Democratic option.
The law’s supporters say it will increase voting on nonpartisan sections of the ballot and encourage voters to be educated on individual candidates. But Democrats and some local clerks say it will cause long lines and overturns the people, who had previously rejected an effort to eliminate the straight-ticket voting.
The lawsuit argues that the law violates equal protection afforded under the 14th amendment, the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Brewer said that long wait times disproportionately affected African American voters in more concentrated urban districts as well as those with disabilities, who would be impacted by longer lines.