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.
Drain did not rule on the merits of the case but said “a reasonable person” could conclude the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Democratic plaintiffs also allege a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that reflects intentional discrimination by the Legislature.
GOP lawmakers have denied any racial motivation for eliminating the straight-ticket option, which allows voters to quickly cast a ballot for all members of a political party rather than select individual candidates. The ban was suspended ahead of the 2016 election and has not yet been implemented.
Full Article: Michigan straight-ticket voting fight heads to trial.