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.