State election officials are asking a federal judge to delay implementing a court order that strikes down Michigan’s new law banning straight-ticket voting while they appeal the case. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency motion late Friday asking U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin A. Drain to stay the four preliminary injunctions he issued against state election officials on July 22 that ban enforcement of the new law. Schuette, in a motion filed by his staff, said he is requesting a decision on the motion by Tuesday “due to the upcoming election deadlines, which are Aug. 16 for final ballot language for the Nov. 8 election and Sept. 24, the day all ballots must be ready to send overseas to members of the U.S. armed forces and to absentee voters. “Defendant is irreparably harmed by having a statute enacted by its elected representatives enjoined so close in time to the pending election,” Schuette wrote.
Attorney Mark Brewer, who is representing the plaintiffs, said Monday the motion is without merit and he would oppose it in his own court filing. Brewer said he did not expect the judge to issue a decision on Tuesday.
In his 37-page opinion, Drain said the new law will reduce African-Americans’ opportunity to participate in the state’s political process and will put a disproportionate burden on their right to vote.
Drain, an appointee of Democratic President Barack Obama, cited a report by Kurt Metzger, a demographer hired by Brewer, who found a direct correlation between the use of straight-party voting within a community and the black population within that community.