Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that will eliminate single-party, straight-ticket voting in Michigan, but urged the state Senate to also pass a bill that will allow voters to cast absentee ballots without having to provide a reason. “Michigan joins 40 other states that require voters to select an individual for each elective office, rather than simply selecting a political party,” Snyder wrote in a letter explaining why he signed the bill. “As governor, I have strived to put people before politics and strongly encourage voters to do the same.” 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.
Republican state Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, tried to address those concerns by linking the no reason absentee bill to the elimination of straight ticket voting, but Republicans in the state Senate broke the tie bar, saying that absentee voting should not be expanded. Snyder agreed with Lyons. “Voters should have at least 15 days to vote by absentee before election day. I urge the Senate to pass the (no reason absentee) bill and send it to me as soon as possible to be signed into law. This will not only provide greater access to the polls, it will also help alleviate long lines at the ballot box.”
The Senate is unlikely to bring up the absentee voting bill. Both Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, who controls the Senate’s agenda, and Sen.David Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, are adamently opposed to any expansion of absentee voting.
Democrats argued that the bills would disenfranchise voters, who become frustrated by long lines and are forced to leave before voting. In 2014, in Oakland County, 109,711 people voted a straight Democratic ticket while 108,211 voted a straight Republican ticket. But in Wayne County, 224,806 people voted a straight Democratic ticket while 71,846 people voted a straight Republican ticket. In Macomb County, 60,048 people voted straight Democratic while 53,130 voted straight Republican.
Full Article: Snyder signs bill eliminating straight-ticket voting.