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.Full Article: Michigan straight-ticket voting fight heads to trial.
The Utah State Legislature will be deciding whether to eliminate “straight-ticket” voting, where you can choose to only vote for candidates from one political party on an entire ballot. Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, is sponsoring a bill that would end that, calling it “outdated.” “They can still go through the ballot and vote for every Republican, every Green Party and every Democrat,” she told FOX 13. “But they’re going to have to look at every single name to do that.” Rep. Arent claims straight-ticket voting causes confusion for voters and some key issues get skipped because they’re not tied to a party affiliation.Full Article: Bill would eliminate voting for only one political party in Utah | fox13now.com.
Editorials: Michigan should do away with the straight-ticket option | Peter Lucido/Detroit Free Press
Of all the things that make our country great, nothing is more universally cherished than our right to vote. Americans choose their own destiny, and they exercise that choice through the democratic process. We are born and raised into thinking of our system as generally idyllic, or close to it. Considering how far we’ve come, it’s no surprise that many people are resistant to change or hesitant to move in any direction out of fear that we are undermining a fundamental element of our American rights. However, who can vote and how are factors that have undergone both societal and constitutional change over the course of our nation’s history. A brief look at our past will confirm that the willingness to revisit or redefine our voting process is generally for the better, when the goal is a more representative democracy. Michigan is one of only 10 states that still uses straight-ticket voting. Why should we settle for less?Full Article: Michigan should do away with the straight-ticket option.
Michigan: Senate GOP plans to pass straight-ticket voting ban, ditch absentee voting bill | MLive.com
Michigan will ban straight-ticket voting without expanding absentee ballot options — if Senate Republicans have their way. Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, said the upper chamber will move Wednesday to separate elections bills linked and approved last week by the House. Senate Bill 13 would eliminate the option for voters to choose all candidates of a single political party by marking a check box on their ballot. The proposal, which could help Republicans win down-ticket education seats they’ve struggled to secure in recent years, has faced pushback from local clerks who believe that eliminating the faster voting option will lead to longer lines on Election Day.Full Article: Michigan Senate GOP plans to pass straight-ticket voting ban, ditch absentee voting bill | MLive.com.
Michigan: Detroit city clerk, voting rights advocates come out against “unnecessary” elections bills | Michigan Radio
Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and voting rights advocates are denouncing a pair of election bills in the Michigan Legislature right now. One is a state Senate bill that would restrict absentee voting hours, and ban absentee voting at satellite office locations. Winfrey says Detroit is one of just a few Michigan cities to use satellite voting, and it’s been “very successful” there. “So when you begin to impede that process, when you want to eliminate that process, now you’re affecting a particular group of people,” she said. Winfrey also criticized a bill to eliminate single-party, straight-ticket voting, saying that will make for longer lines and more confusion, disproportionately affecting urban voters.Full Article: Detroit city clerk, voting rights advocates come out against "unnecessary" elections bills | Michigan Radio.
Michigan’s Republican-led House moved late Wednesday to approve bills that would eliminate straight-ticket voting and allow no-reason absentee voting after an in-person ballot request. The straight-ticket ban, modified and advanced in a 54-51 vote at around 10 p.m., faced criticism from Democrats, who called it a political proposal that would have the practical effect of creating longer voting lines. “The reason we’re doing this is because Republicans have not been able to win education board seats,” said Rep. Sam Singh, D-East Lansing. “…So they decided to change the rules.”Full Article: Straight-ticket voting ban, absentee voting bills approved by Michigan House | MLive.com.
An amended version of the bill to eliminate the straight-ticket voting box on Michigan ballots moved out of the House Elections Committee Tuesday with only Republican support. Senate Bill 13 would eliminate the box on current ballots that allows people to automatically vote a straight Republican or Democratic ticket, though voters could still go through and vote individually for all members of one party. Sponsor Sen. Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy, said last week that 40 states had eliminated this option. Michigan is one step closer to joining those states after the House Elections Committee adopted a substitute version of the bill that increased the appropriation that would go to clerks for voting equipment by $5 million and tie-barred the bill to House Bill 4724, a bill that would allow people to vote absentee with no reason by getting a ballot in person at their local clerk’s office.Full Article: Straight ticket voting ban tied to absentee bill, headed to House floor | MLive.com.
Clerks, advocates for seniors and the disabled, and regular citizens heaped criticism Thursday on a Republican proposal to end straight-party voting in Michigan. The House Elections Committee took about an hour 90 minutes of testimony, but adjourned Thursday evening without voting on Senate Bill 13. State Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, the committee chairwoman, said the committee would continue to take a look at the bills and hopes to move the straight ticket bill along with one that would approve no reason absentee voting. The committee heard testimony Thursday that was overwhelmingly opposed to the change as one that would cause longer lines to vote and that would especially disadvantage black voters. Only East Lansing election lawyer Eric Doster testified in support of the bill, saying it would be beneficial for democracy.Full Article: Clerks, voters rip plan to end straight-ticket voting.
The House is poised to take up legislation that will make it easier to vote by absentee ballot, but eliminate straight-party ticket voting at the same time. Republicans in the Senate have already passed the elimination of straight-ticket voting, which Democrats believe is a partisan ploy to skew elections toward the GOP. The House Elections Committee will take up the legislation today after it voted Wednesday to pass a bill that would allow people to get an absentee ballot without providing a reason for needing to vote on a day other than Election Day. State Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, said she’d like to see the two bills passed together to ensure smooth and efficient elections.Full Article: House to take up absentee, straight-party voting today.
Michigan voters who with a single mark can vote Democratic or Republican for every partisan office on the ballot may no longer have the option in 2016. Republicans who control the Legislature want to make Michigan the latest state to eliminate straight-ticket, or straight-party, voting. It is still used in 10 states but has been abolished by nine others in the last 20 years, including nearby Wisconsin and Illinois. To its detractors, straight-party voting encourages ill-prepared voters to pick officeholders solely on party affiliation, not their qualifications, and is a relic of party machine politics. Proponents say it is a convenient, popular option whose removal would lengthen lines, particularly in urban polling precincts, in a state with the country’s sixth-longest average wait time. The GOP-controlled Senate this month approved legislation to end the straight-ticket option, and majority House Republicans may follow in December before adjourning for the year.Full Article: Michigan’s straight-ticket voting option may be eliminated | Associated Press.
Residents in the state of Michigan may not have the option of voting a straight-ticket after the Michigan Senate passed legislation eliminating that option this past week. Added to the legislation was an $1 million appropriation introduced by Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland. Due to state law, the appropriation would prevent the legislation from being repealed by citizens. The Republican-controlled Senate fast-tracked the bill that went from committee to a vote all on Tuesday. The 23-13 vote saw all 11 Democratic senators vote, “nay,” on Senate Bill 13, along with two Republican senators, Joe Hune, Hamburg, and Tory Rocca, Sterling Heights. “We want voters to pick individuals and not a party,” Stamas said.Full Article: Senate votes to eliminate straight-ticket voting.
Michigan: Straight-ticket voting ban speeds through Michigan Senate with shield against repeal | MLive.com
Michigan voters would lose the ability to cast a straight-ticket ballot for candidates of a single political party under fast-tracked legislation approved Tuesday evening in the state Senate. The Republican-backed bill advanced through committee earlier the same day before reaching the floor, where it was amended to include a $1 million appropriation that would make it immune to referendum. Michigan voters overturned a similar law in 2002 after Democrats forced a ballot referendum via petition drive. The new bill would provide funding to the Michigan Secretary of State to assess the impact of eliminating straight-ticket voting, assist in ongoing fraud prevention and “provide equipment to facilitate the integrity of the election process,” among other things. Sen. Dave Robertson, R-Grand Blanc, called the appropriation “entirely legitimate,” but critics pointed out that most state spending decisions are made during the budget process, not within policy bills.
Legislation that would remove Texas judges from the straight-ticket voting process garnered a mostly cool reception Tuesday at a Texas House committee hearing, as both Democrats and Republicans said that tinkering with the ballot turns off voters. House Bill 25, authored by state Rep. Kenneth Sheets, R-Dallas, would only impact partisan elections in judicial races. Sheets, an attorney, told his fellow House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee members that good judges are being unfairly ousted when a Republican or Democratic wave occurs during a general election. “We’re not eliminating straight-ticketing voting,” Sheets said Tuesday. “We’re just making it so voters would have to manually select, and the thought process is that more people would select the judicial candidate [based] on the individual.”Full Article: Proposed Change to Election of Judges Gets Cool Reception | The Texas Tribune.
Texas is one of only 10 states still doing straight-ticket voting but a North Texas legislator is hoping to change that. At a hearing today, Rep. Ron Simmons (R-Carrollton) told the Elections Committee that doing away with such an option here would lead to a more informed voter and improve turnout in non-partisan ballot measure. “The purpose of this bill is to increase the number of Republican elected officials thought out the state of Texas,” he halfway joked. “However I do believe the added benefit will be a more educated voter.”Full Article: Elections committee hears bill to eliminate straight-party voting | Dallas Morning News.
State lawmakers have approved a push to remove the option for voters to cast straight party-line ballots by checking one box. On Tuesday, the Republican-led House of Delegates voted 87-13 to prohibit the practice. Only Democrats opposed the bill. The Senate cleared a similar proposal last month. Currently, West Virginia voters can select every candidate from a single party simply by picking the straight-party option.
Iowa voters would no longer have the option of voting a straight-party ticket under a bill that cleared a House subcommittee on Tuesday. Rep. Robert Bacon, R-Slater, said he supported the change because he is concerned voters who mark a ballot to support all the members of one political party may forget to turn the ballot over and mark nonpartisan candidates seeking local offices or board positions and judges up for retention. Bacon and Rep. Jack Drake, R-Griswold, said they believed removing the straight-ticket option would clean up election provisions in the Iowa code. Bacon said Iowa is one of a dozen states that still offers the voting option, and it appeared the numbers “flip-flop” from election to election, so the change would not benefit one political party of another.Full Article: Bill would end straight-party voting in Iowa - TheGazette.
When you go to the polls on election day, you can either vote in each individual race or cast a ballot for all of the members of one political party. It’s called straight-ticket voting and fewer than a dozen states allow it. Hoosier lawmakers are considering putting an end to the practice. A framed poster hanging on the wall of the Marion County Democratic Headquarters in Indianapolis prominently features a rooster – the symbol that represents the Democratic Party on Indiana’s ballots. “They were posters that were placed at the precincts on the walls outside of the precincts to remind voters to vote straight party,” Marion County Democratic Chairman Joel Miller says. Basically check a box and all your votes go to either Democrats, Republicans or Libertarians in every race. A proposed bill in the Statehouse could soon make that poster an artifact. House Bill 1008, recently passed by the Indiana House, would eliminate straight-ticket voting in the state.Full Article: What Happens If Indiana Eliminates Straight-Ticket Voting? | News - Indiana Public Media.
Editorials: The Next attack on voting rights and why Democrats should fight for a constitutional right-to-vote amendment | Jamelle Bouie/Slate
he last round of voter restrictions came after the 2010 Republican wave, when new GOP majorities passed voter identification laws and slashed ballot access in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. Now, three months after the 2014 Republican wave, another class of state lawmakers are prepping another assault on voting rights under the same guise of “uniformity” and “ballot integrity.” In Georgia, reports Zachary Roth for MSNBC, Republicans are pushing a bill to slash early voting from the present maximum of 21 days to 12 days. The goal, says Rep. Ed Rydners, a sponsor of the proposal, is “clarity and uniformity.” “There were complaints of some voters having more opportunities than others,” he said, “This legislation offers equal access statewide.” If cities like Atlanta want to have more voting access, said Rydners, they could open more precincts and “pay to have poll workers present.”Full Article: The Next Republican attack on voting right: Democrats should fight for a constitutional right-to-vote amendment..
The House Elections committee voted 8-4 Wednesday to move forward a proposal that would eliminate one-button, straight-ticket voting in the state. The vote fell along party lines with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. Under current law, voters can cast their ballots for all of one party’s candidates – Democratic, Republican or Libertarian – with a single click or mark. House Bill 1008 would require voters to choose a candidate specifically for each office. Party identifiers would still be next to each name. Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion – author of the legislation – said in the last election, only one state in the top 10 in terms of voter turnout used straight-ticket voting. In the bottom 10 states – including Indiana – five offer straight-ticket voting.Full Article: Bill to end straight-ticket vote goes forward | Indiana | Journal Gazette.
Straight-ticket voting is a thing of the past, a local state legislator says, and he is carrying a bill to officially make that statement a reality. Currently, Hoosiers can vote for all the candidates from one party with the click of a single button during a general or municipal election. Rep. David Ober, R-Albion, has introduced a bill to remove that option. Ober said the change would update Indiana ballots for modern voting norms. “The way that Hoosier votes are trending is more based on individual candidates and their views rather than a party or platform,” said Ober. “This bill codifies what Hoosier voters are already doing.”Full Article: Ober bill takes on straight-ticket voting - KPCNews: Albion New Era.