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.Full Article: Straight-ticket ban helped Michigan GOP 'at the margins'.
straight party voting
Texas: Straight-ticket voting ends in 2020. For some down-ballot Republicans, that wasn’t soon enough. | The Texas Tribune
As Harris County judge, Ed Emmett led the state’s biggest county — 4.7 million people — through its most devastating natural disaster. That work won the moderate Republican bipartisan support, even in a county that overwhelmingly went blue in 2016. But last week, Emmett lost his re-election bid in a close race — the closest in the county. And come January, the incumbent will turn his job over to Democrat Lina Hidalgo, a 27-year-old political newcomer who had never attended a meeting of the commissioners court she will now lead (she has, she said, watched them online). At the top of the ticket, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz lost the county by more than 200,000 votes; Emmett’s race — midway down the longest ballot in the country — was decided by a margin of about 19,000 votes.Full Article: Did straight-ticket voting doom dozens of down-ballot Republicans? | The Texas Tribune.
There will be no straight-party voting option this year in New Mexico. The state Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled in favor of a petition by the state Republican and Libertarian parties and others arguing that Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver does not have the power to put straight-party voting back on ballots without legislative approval. The court didn’t buy Toulouse Oliver’s argument that the secretary of state’s power to decide the form of the ballot includes resurrecting the straight-ticket option. “Did the Legislature intend to delegate its decision-making authority over straight-party voting to the secretary of state?” Chief Justice Judith Nakamura said when announcing the high court’s decision. “The answer to this question is no.”Full Article: High court blocks plan to restore straight-party voting | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver is sticking to her guns. In a 23-page response to a lawsuit filed by the state Republican and Libertarian parties and others, lawyers representing the Democrat in charge of New Mexico elections rejected their claim that the state Legislature did away with straight-party voting in 2001 and asserted that Toulouse Oliver has the power to give voters that option. The response, filed Friday in the state Supreme Court, argues that “the New Mexico Legislature has never prohibited the inclusion of a straight-party voting option on the ballot. The Legislature, instead, left this option, like other options involved in formatting the ballot, to be determined by the secretary of state.”Full Article: New Mexico secretary of state firm on straight-party voting | Local News | santafenewmexican.com.
Michigan: Federal appeals court: No straight-ticket voting in November election | The Detroit Free Press
Straight-ticket voting won’t be available as an option in the Nov. 6 general election, under a federal appeals court ruling released late Wednesday. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision marked by a sharply worded dissent, blocked a ruling by a federal judge in Detroit that would have struck down a 2016 law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature to ban straight-ticket voting in Michigan. There was no immediate word on a further appeal of the ruling, but there is little time before the Michigan ballot is finalized. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain declared the law unconstitutional in August, following a bench trial. Drain said the ban on straight-ticket voting “presents a disproportionate burden on African Americans’ right to vote,” partly because, in Michigan’s most populous counties, there is a strong correlation between the size of the black voting population and the use of straight-ticket voting.Full Article: Federal appeals court: No straight-ticket voting in November election.
There’s at least one thing Republicans, Libertarians, independents and even some Democrats seem to agree on. They do not want voters to cast straight-party ballots in the November election. And they are asking the state Supreme Court to stop Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver from putting an option for straight-party voting back on the ballot after a Republican predecessor scrapped it about six years ago. In an emergency petition filed late Thursday, an unlikely assortment of political leaders and advocates argued straight-party voting is no longer allowed under New Mexico law. Moreover, they contend it violates the idea of equal protection under the Constitution for some political parties and independent candidates.Full Article: An Unlikely Union Seeks to Stop Straight-Party Voting in New Mexico.
oña Ana County Commission Chairman Ben Rawson has called for a special meeting Tuesday to consider a resolution requesting that the county clerk not include a straight-party ticket option on the ballots for the 2018 election. Rawson, a Republican, said that officials in Lea, Curry, Roosevelt, Chaves, Eddy and San Juan counties have also called special meetings for Tuesday to take up the issue, and others are expected to as well. Tuesday is the deadline for county clerks to turn ballots in to the Secretary of State’s Office, he said. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, announced that she was bringing back the option of straight-party voting, which had been discontinued in 2012 by then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran, a Republican. It allows voters to select all candidates from one party by filling in a single bubble on the ballot.Full Article: Doña Ana County to hold special meeting on straight-party voting.
New Mexico will become just one of several states to still allow the option to vote a straight-party ticket in the upcoming general election under an effort launched Wednesday by the state’s top elections chief. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she’s formatting the ballots to allow voting in which a slate of major party candidates can be chosen all at one time. The move drew immediate criticism from the Republican Party of New Mexico and others who described it as partisan maneuvering. Some critics even questioned the legality of Toulouse Oliver’s decision and threatened legal action, pointing to a vote by the Legislature in 2001 to abolish straight-ticket voting. Former Gov. Gary Johnson signed that legislation nearly two decades ago and is now running as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate.Full Article: Lawsuit likely over straight-ticket voting | LAMonitor.com.
New Mexico will become just one of several states to still allow the option to vote a straight-party ticket in the upcoming general election under an effort launched Wednesday by the state’s top elections chief. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she’s formatting the ballots to allow voting in which a slate of major party candidates can be chosen all at one time. The move drew immediate criticism from the Republican Party of New Mexico and others who described it as partisan maneuvering. Some critics even questioned the legality of Toulouse Oliver’s decision and threatened legal action, pointing to a vote by the Legislature in 2001 to abolish straight-ticket voting.Full Article: New Mexico voters to have straight-ticket option this fall - Fairfield Citizen.
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is asking a federal judge to reconsider his decision to allow straight-ticket voting on the November 2018 ballot, according to an emergency court motion filed Tuesday. The motion asks U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain to issue an immediate stay pending appeal of Drain’s Aug. 9 injunction on a 2016 Michigan law that removes the straight-party voting option. The motion asks for a decision by Friday, Aug. 17, citing the need to set the November ballot. The motion, which was filed by Attorney General Bill Schuette, argues that the state is likely to prevail on appeal and voters will not be harmed if the straight-ticket option is not available.Full Article: Michigan officials seek stay of injunction that allows straight-ticket voting | MLive.com.
The state will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that permanently barred Michigan from enforcing a straight-ticket voting ban. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson filed a notice of appeal Monday morning, nearly two weeks after Detroit U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain said the state’s GOP-led legislature “intentionally discriminated against African Americans” by banning straight-ticket voting. The state will be filing an emergency motion for stay alongside the appeal, Secretary of State spokesman Fred Woodhams said. “The state is confident that it will succeed on the merits of the appeal as there is no Fourteenth Amendment violation, no violation of the Voting Rights Act and plaintiffs lack standing to bring this claim,” he said in an email.Full Article: State to appeal judge's decision on straight-ticket voting ban.
Michigan: Judge says GOP’s straight ticket voting ban discriminated against African Americans | The Detroit Free Press
A federal judge approved a permanent injunction Wednesday against the state eliminating straight-ticket voting in Michigan even though the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill in 2015 that would do exactly that.
When Michigan Republicans passed the bill eliminating straight ticket voting, they “intentionally discriminated against African-Americans in violation of the Equal Protection Clause,” U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain wrote in his decision. “The Court finds that eliminating the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters — success especially driven by African-Americans residing in communities with high voting-age African-American populations — was a motivating consideration in the Michigan Legislature’s enactment of PA 268. The goal of ending the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters, therefore, was achieved at the expense of African-Americans’ access to the ballot.”Full Article: Judge: GOP discriminated with straight ticket voting ban.
A federal judge on Wednesday ruled Michigan cannot ban “straight-ticket” voting, allowing voters to choose all a party’s candidates with just one bubble on a ballot, saying the law prohibiting the practice was racially discriminatory. The ruling permanently blocks what U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain called a politically motivated move by the Republican-controlled state legislature in a state that backed President Donald Trump in 2016 after twice choosing Democratic former President Barack Obama. The ban did not affect the November 2016 election as a temporary order had blocked the state from enforcing it. Drain cited research finding African-American voters are more likely than voters of other races to cast a straight-ticket ballot and are more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.Full Article: Federal judge blocks Michigan ban on 'straight-ticket' voting | Reuters.
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver hopes to bring back straight party voting – possibly as soon as November – which would allow voters to check a single box to vote for a major party’s entire slate of candidates. However, critics of straight party voting say the practice gives an unfair advantage to major party candidates – especially Democrats – over those who are independent or affiliated with minor parties. And state Republican Party officials have indicated that they might pursue a court challenge if straight party voting is enacted. A Secretary of State’s Office spokesman said Toulouse Oliver intends to hold public hearings before implementing straight party voting, and it’s unclear whether that will happen in time for the Nov. 6 general election. But he insisted that state law gives the secretary of state the authority to unilaterally reimpose the voting option.Full Article: Straight party voting may return to New Mexico | Albuquerque Journal.
Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said she still wants to restore straight-ticket voting in which a slate of major-party candidates can be chosen all at one time. Toulouse Oliver on Tuesday said she hopes to allow straight-ticket voting in fall elections. The change would fulfill a campaign pledge. Also known as straight-party voting, the option was removed in 2012 elections by then-Secretary of State Dianna Duran.
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.Full Article: Docs: Top GOP officials lobbied for straight-ticket ban.
Voting Blogs: Keeping Things Straight: Michigan’s Fight Over Straight-Ticket Voting | State of Elections
For over 125 years, Michigan residents had the option of killing many birds with one stone, at least at the ballot box. This option is called straight-ticket voting, and it allows voters to fill in one bubble on a ballot for Democrats or Republicans, instead of filling in individual bubbles for every race. Proponents of straight-ticket voting claim that it makes the voting process faster, which helps eliminate long lines at the polls. In January 2016, Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that eliminated Michigan’s straight-ticket voting option.Full Article: Keeping Things Straight: Michigan’s Fight Over Straight-Ticket Voting - State of Elections.
Rep. Bruce Cutler proudly describes himself as a Republican and a fiscal conservative. But he believes that’s not necessarily why you should vote for him. “I hate labels. I’m not one to like labels,” the state representative from Murray told FOX 13 recently. It’s partly why he’s proposing a bill in the 2018 legislative session that would eliminate straight ticket voting in Utah. “I just think that people need to vote for the person rather than the party. We’ve seen this on the national level,” he said, referring to the recent Alabama senate race involving Roy Moore, who faced accusations of sexual misconduct involving girls. (Rep. Cutler added he would not support Moore.)Full Article: Once again, Utah lawmakers try to eliminate straight ticket voting | fox13now.com.
The results of the 2016 election are being replayed in federal court as the state of Michigan defends a Republican-backed law that would abolish straight-party voting, an easy ballot option that’s especially popular in urban areas that go Democratic. The law was suspended last year by a judge who said an end to straight-party ballots could cause long lines and place a disproportionate burden on black voters. Now, after months of analysis by experts, that same judge must decide whether the lawsuit should go to trial or be dismissed in favor of the state. Straight-party voting is the act of making a single mark on a ballot to pick candidates of one party, from president to county commissioner. It’s been in practice for more than 100 years in Michigan and is widely held in urban areas; Detroit’s rate was 80 percent in 2016.Full Article: Michigan resisting challenge to ban on straight-party voting | Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Michigan Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof and other Republican legislators are fighting subpoenas that could force them to testify and expose internal debate over a controversial law to ban straight-ticket voting. The legal drama is unfolding more than a year after a federal judge first suspended the straight-ticket ban in the run-up to the 2016 election, ruling the change could disproportionally burden African-American voters and limit their opportunity to participate in the state’s political process. Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office are fighting to implement the ban ahead of the 2018 election cycle, arguing it would neutrally apply to voters of all races. The case is scheduled to go to trial in late December.Full Article: Republicans fight subpoenas in straight-ticket lawsuit.