Michigan’s temporary ban on straight-party voting marginally benefited down-ticket Republicans in this year’s election, but not enough to overcome a strong performance by Democrats, according to a Detroit News analysis. The ban, approved by the GOP-led Legislature in late 2015, was overturned through voter passage of Proposal 3, which will restore straight-party voting for future elections and preserve the option in the Michigan Constitution. Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer won her race by 9 percentage points, but Democrats won other statewide contests by narrower margins and lost a handful of critical legislative races to Republicans, who maintained majorities in the state House and Senate. Experts said the straight-ticket ban likely led to more ticket splitting, and unofficial results show a larger percentage of voters skipped lower-profile races, choosing to not complete their full ballots. That down-ballot drop-off had a larger negative impact on Democratic candidates, who traditionally have benefited from straight-party voting.
Democrats elected to the state Board of Education, Judith Pritchett and Tiffany Tilley, got 21 percent fewer votes than Whitmer. By contrast, Democrats who ran for education board posts four years ago received 9 percent fewer votes than gubernatorial nominee Mark Schauer.
Republican state board candidates Tami Carlone and Richard Zeile got 17 percent fewer votes than gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette last week, a smaller drop-off than GOP candidates experienced in the 2014 midterm.
Those trends were consistent across elections for governing board positions at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. In all three contests, voter drop-off appeared to have a larger impact on Democratic candidates than it did in 2014, while the impact on GOP candidates lessened.
Full Article: Straight-ticket ban helped Michigan GOP ‘at the margins’.