GOPocrisy, Michigan Republicans — November 11, 2015 at 7:19 am

Michigan Senate passes straight-ticket voting ban bill, adds $1 million appropriation to make it referendum-proof


After legislation to ban straight-ticket voting passed out of the Senate Elections Committee yesterday, the full Senate quickly took it up and passed it last evening. As I mentioned yesterday, voters in Michigan have already shot down the same ban in 2002 when a ballot referendum overturned a Republican law to stop straight-ticket voting.

In my piece, I predicted that they would add an appropriation to the bill to stop voters from being able to weigh in this time.

And that’s exactly what they did:

Senators added a $1-million appropriation to the bill, making it “referendum proof.” A similar measure the Legislature approved in 2001 was rejected by Michigan voters the following year. But under state law, bills that include an appropriation, as Senate Bill 13 does, can’t be rejected by voters.

“This appropriation is a $1-million insurance policy against the will of the people,” said Sen. Curtis Hertel, D-East Lansing.

The full Senate…passed the measure in a 23-13 vote, with Republicans adding a $1-million appropriation they said was to help pay for auditing and fraud prevention.

Auditing and fraud prevention. Yeah, right. I guess that’s what the kids are calling it these days. And by “it” I mean squelching the voice of Michigan citizens. According to MIRS news service, the appropriation is specifically “for assessing the impact of eliminating straight party ticket voting, compliance and fraud prevention, post-election audits, providing follow-up with local officials and providing equipment to ‘facilitate the integrity of the election process.'”

Yeah, that’s a sham, all right.

There are only ten more session days in the year and, now that they no longer have to deal with the Democrats to get road funding passed, there’s a pent up pile of anti-worker, anti-women, anti-democracy Republican bills waiting to see the light of day. Yesterday was the beginning of that:

The Senate also passed a bill that moves the election of the Oakland County executive from presidential voting years, when Democratic turnout is strongest, to gubernatorial election years, when Democratic turnout is weaker. And it sent to the state House four bills that Democrats described as anti-union, including measures prohibiting public employers from authorizing paid release time for unionized employees to conduct union business.

The House also passed a measure to criminalize a safe abortion method.

It’s a mini-Lame Duck session of sorts and Republicans plan to take full advantage of it. Prepare yourselves.

  • Don_K

    I know this is probably too much “inside baseball” to engage the average voter, but could somebody please organize an initiative drive to eliminate the appropriation loophole?

    On another topic raised here, the Reps are driven absolutely nuts that Oakland isn’t a Rep stronghold anymore, and I mean totally berserk. Does the bill also change the rules for the other countywide offices (Clerk, Prosecutor, Sheriff, Treasurer)?

    • Those positions are already on the same cycle as the presidential election.

      • Don_K

        Well, right, I know they’re presently elected at the same time as the County Exec (presidential years). I was wondering whether they would be changed to go onto the off-year cycle as well.

        • Sorry, I misunderstood the question. No, this bill covers the “County Executive” only. Apparently Oakland County is the only Count with a County Executive that is chosen in presidential election years because the bill doesn’t explicitly mention Oakland County.

  • cattletracks

    Straight-ticket voting was begun to simplify and shorten the voting process, and improve voter turnout. Whether voting precincts will prepare sufficiently for the longer lines and extended wait times is yet to be seen. I’m not holding my breath.

    Remember the words of Paul Weyrich (founder of the uber-powerful GOP Think Tank, Heritage Foundation): ” I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

    • judyms9

      Here’s the opening for the Dems and other parties for that matter: “The current Republican legislature and governor have benched you, Mr. and Mrs. Voter. You looked away, and now you no longer matter. Only the GOP varsity gets to play. Wait in the parking lot. We’ll let you know when you can come back in. Maybe.”
      The elitism underlying this is not unAmerican; it’s anti-American.

  • bryan

    Importantly, Democratic amendments to solve the “long line” problem were voted down — a “no-reason” absentee ballot and early voting.

    In Oakland County for both 2012 and 2014, the “straight ticket” votes had no affect on the outcome of any state-wide or county-wide offices. Likewise, the gerrymandering means this won’t affect most congressional or legislative districts. This really is to stop down-ballot office seekers from riding the coattails of the top of the ticket.

    Finally, once again, the constitutional remedy of voter referendum has been callously blocked. Ironic that this “improvement” to the voting process is blocked from the voting process. How many times has this happened?

  • Oginikwe

    On the other hand, this might backfire on them. Many times I’ve held my nose and had to vote for someone I did not like because they were part of the entire ticket. Now I can vote ala carte for people in other parties. Silver lining?

  • Laurie Tata

    That’s the MI Republican solution: When you can’t win by (a comfortable-enough margin) under the rules, just change the rules. Once again, it’s made clear that they don’t give two cents for what We The People want. I hope the voters are paying attention!!

  • Z54

    The real joke is the morons turn around and re-elect the same A**holes over and over again! Not very F***ing smart. But what the hell. The people of Michigan must like bending over and having a white hot piece of rebar shoved up their backsides all of the time! Pretty much on par with the rest of amerika too!

  • Michigan voters should vote in each election as if it were their last. If the republicans retain control of the state government, that will likely become effectively true.

  • Left Coast Tom

    I still don’t understand why straight-ticket voting is such a big deal. There are non-partisan races, no? Ballot measures? So in no way does straight-ticket voting simplify voting, because it only applies to some parts of the ballot anyway. Obviously Republicans think its a big deal, because they’re spending time outlawing it in order to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist and, apparently, can’t be clearly stated. But I still don’t get it. If one wants to make it easier to vote, implement vote-by-mail. Implement same-day registration. Implement automatic registration.