Michigan will ban straight-ticket voting without expanding absentee ballot options — if Senate Republicans have their way. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said the upper chamber will move Wednesday to separate elections bills linked and approved last week by the House. Senate Bill 13 would eliminate the option for voters to choose all candidates of a single political party by marking a check box on their ballot. The proposal, which could help Republicans win down-ticket education seats they’ve struggled to secure in recent years, has faced pushback from local clerks who believe that eliminating the faster voting option will lead to longer lines on Election Day.
Democrats have blasted the bill, arguing that it could disenfranchise voters, especially minorities in urban areas with already-crowded precincts.
House Elections Committee Chair Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, acknowledged Election Day line concerns last week when she “tie-barred” the bill to her own that would allow in-person, no-reason absentee ballot requests. If they remain linked, one could not become law without the other.