One Equal World

Michigan Needs Straight Ticket Voting Back

Posted on: June 13, 2016

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Straight ticket voting is when a voter simply chooses a party and votes for everyone running for that party in their district or state. This is generally done by just filling in a circle and turning over the ballot, not by going down and voting in every single race. It’s an important part of democracy because, sadly, many people don’t vote in the “down ticket” races below, for example, state or federal legislators, if they even vote for them.

In Michigan, this process cost Republicans 8 out of 9 seats in the State Board of Education there two years ago, because many black voters in Detroit just hit the straight ticket vote for Democrats. Following that turnout, the Republican controlled state government outlawed straight ticket voting, making a lot of noise about encouraging voters to make informed choices.

Except it doesn’t do that, it simply means that more voters won’t be voting for anything other than the president come November, and the Republicans know that. That’s why Michigan Democrats filed a federal lawsuit which claims that the law violates the Equal Protection clause, because it makes voting that much more difficult for people who don’t have access to news or other resources that might inform them about candidates and other ballot issues.

What’s more, many people chose that option because standing in lines at poles is time consuming, and they have jobs to work at or kids to take care of, and the Republicans refused to expand absentee ballots, so people don’t have the time to go over their ballots and determine who they want to vote for, even if they do have the information needed to make “informed choices.”

It’s yet another example of the Republican party, especially in Michigan, trying to make it as hard as possible for people who wouldn’t vote for them anyway to vote at all.

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