Top ranking Michigan Republican Party officials lobbied lawmakers to ban straight-ticket voting in late 2015 despite concerns from a key GOP lawmaker that the change could increase Election Day wait times, according to new court filings from attorneys seeking to overturn the statute. Evidence and depositions the state is attempting to exclude from trial in a federal lawsuit over the ban offer a rare glimpse into the legislative process and show the extent to which party officials interact with the state’s GOP-led Legislature.
Articles about voting issues in Michigan.
A petition drive hopes to put a voters’ rights amendment to the state constitution on the November ballot. The amendment would let people vote absentee without giving a reason. It would allow early voting. And it would guarantee the right to vote a party-line ticket with one mark on the ballot. “We need to make sure that voting is accessible to all citizens and that everyone’s vote gets counted,” said Judy Karendjeff with the League of Women Voters.
A fight over the Michigan Republican-led Legislature’s attempted ban on straight-ticket voting can head to trial this spring, a federal judge ruled Friday, rejecting Secretary of State Ruth Johnson’s request for dismissal. In a 42-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Gershwin Drain denied Johnson’s request to toss a lawsuit alleging a 2015 law to eliminate straight-ticket voting would diminish the voice of African American voters.
Michigan: Candidate says he’ll sue Gov. Snyder to move up election for Conyers’ seat | Detroit Metro News
A candidate for the U.S. House seat vacated by former U.S. Rep John Conyers filed a lawsuit against Gov. Rick Snyder demanding that the election be moved up to an earlier date. On Dec. 8, Gov. Snyder had announced that Conyers’ congressional seat would remain empty until the regularly scheduled November election, leaving it vacant for nearly a year. What’s more, political observers have pointed out that since the post will be listed twice — once in the August primary and again in the November general election ballots — the office could be held by two different people before January is out. In short, the move would leave Detroiters without effective representation for 11 months — and perhaps even longer.
A federal judge has approved the creation of a three-judge panel to hear a lawsuit alleging Michigan’s political districts are unconstitutionally drawn to favor strong Republican majorities in the Legislature and Congress. U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood signed an order Wednesday allowing a three-judge panel to hear the case after former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer filed the lawsuit last Friday on behalf of the League of Women Voters and other Democrats, including former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Fred Durhal Jr. of Detroit.
A new federal lawsuit alleges political district maps drawn by Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature discriminate against Democratic voters to protect GOP majorities at the state Capitol and in Congress. Former Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer filed the suit Friday on behalf of the Michigan League of Women Voters and various Democrats, including former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Fred Durhal Jr. of Detroit. The complaint contends 2011 maps drawn by Republicans represent a “particularly egregious example of party gerrymandering,” whereby a party in power draws districts to give itself an advantage in elections.
Supporters of a proposed measure that would change the way Michigan draws its political boundaries on Monday turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures to qualify the initiative for next year’s ballot. The initiative would take the power to draw political boundaries out of the hands of Michigan’s state legislature. Instead, an independent commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and five independents would draw legislative and congressional district lines every ten years. Staffers and volunteers — including one dressed as Santa — for the group Voters Not Politicians said they were turning in 188 boxes containing more than 425,000 signatures to the state Bureau of Elections.
| Detroit Free Presss turned in more than 425,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State Monday in an effort to recast how political district lines are drawn in the state. Volunteers for the group have been ubiquitous across the state, collecting the necessary 315,654 petition signatures from registered Michigan voters that are needed to get the constitutional amendment on the ballot. With a cushion of more than 100,000 signatures, the group is confident that a review of the petitions will survive and the issue will get on the November 2018 ballot. “The people of Michigan have come together to make it clear they want voters to choose their politicians, not the other way around,” said Katie Fahey, president of the group. “Michigan voters in November will have the opportunity to fix that system to bring transparency and accountability back into our democracy.”
A group opposed to political gerrymandering submitted more than 425,000 signatures Monday for a ballot drive that would empower an independent commission to draw Michigan’s congressional and legislative districts, which backers said would make the once-a-decade process less partisan. The Legislature now creates the maps, which are subject to a gubernatorial veto and a possible legal challenge. Katie Fahey, president and treasurer of the Voters Not Politicians ballot committee, said the current system “could not get more partisan. We have people locking themselves behind closed doors to draw these lines for their own favor instead of listening to the people of Michigan and trying to create actual fair elections that hold them accountable to us as citizens.” If at least 315,654 signatures are deemed valid, the constitutional amendment would be added to the November 2018 statewide ballot barring a lawsuit. It faces opposition from Republicans, who oversaw redistricting in 2011 and 2001 and who control the Legislature and governorship.
City Clerk Janice Winfrey has prevailed in a general election recount that uncovered poll worker errors that prevented about 20 percent of reviewed precincts from being recounted. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Friday certified the results at Cobo Center, declaring Winfrey as the official winner of the race. But with the conclusion came more questions about election operations in Detroit amid the review of votes that turned up missing ballots and mismatched tabulations. Winfrey’s challenger Garlin Gilchrist II sought the recount after losing to Winfrey by 1,482 votes on Nov. 7, saying his request was prompted by stories of “chaos and confusion” from absentee voters during election season.