After over ten hours of behind the scenes negotiations among their caucus members, all but two Senate Republicans voted last evening to ban straight-ticket voting on Michigan ballots. The bill had been tie-barred to far-less-than-perfect legislation to permit “no reason” absentee voting. However, the tie-bar was removed before passage by the Senate and then sent back to the House where, at in the dark of night, they passed the new, even MORE anti-democracy bill by a two vote margin and sent it on to Gov. Snyder for his signature. Unsurprisingly they kept in a $5 million appropriation in order to make the new law democracy-proof.
Michigan voters have overturned this same exact law TWO TIMES in the past.
As egregious as all of this, it was the way Republicans did it that was the most facepalmingly arrogant and hypocrtical. This description is via Kalamazoo Democratic House member Jon Hoadley on Facebook:
For those that thought SB13, the bill to eliminate straight ticket voting and lengthen voting lines in Michigan was about reducing partisanship–you are wrong and the the proof is in the pudding. I kid you not: the senate just voted to group ALL the Democratic amendments and vote “en bloc” against ALL the Democratic amendments. You could say…they voted a straight ticket against them. #irony
On the Senate floor, Democrat Steven Bieda said, “This should be otherwise known as ‘Donald Trump is your nominee and you’re terrified of that’ bill. This is one of the ugliest episodes of the Legislature trampling on the rights of people that I’ve ever seen.”
County Clerks across the state are nearly unanimous in their opposition to this legislation because of the longer lines and congestion at the polls that it will cause and the larger number of spoiled ballots. This was of little concern to Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekoff who essentially told them all to go Cheney themselves. “I understand the Clerks’ concerns, because they’re charged with the operations of elections,” he said. “But they’re not in charge of the policy of elections. We do that.”
In order to alleviate lines, Clerks for the roughly 4,800 precincts across the state must now fight over a tiny sliver of the $5 million that is supposed to solve congestion problems across the state.
Progress Michigan is asking Michiganders to call Gov. Snyder’s office at (517) 373-3400 and ask him to veto S.B. 13:
UPDATE: The League of Women Voters is calling for Gov. Snyder to veto S.B. 13:
URGE GOVERNOR SNYDER
TO VETO SB 13,
A BILL TO END STRAIGHT-PARTY TICKET VOTING
Tell the Governor to veto SB 13 – the bill that would prohibit straight-party ticket voting in Michigan. The bill is in the process of passing the House and Senate.
The League of Women Voters opposes the elimination of straight-party ticket voting because:
- It reduces options available to voters who want to vote for a particular political party,
- It leads to longer lines at the polls, which disenfranchises voters – according to the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, Michigan ranks 6th in the nation for longest wait in line,
- It leads to incomplete voting – the Citizen’s Research Council reports that, “A single voter is asked in an election cycle to vote on between 54 and 150 officials of state government and the judiciary and from 23 to 37 local government officials” and;
- It increases the cost for elections because additional machines need to be purchased and more staff is required.
The League of Women Voters supports election laws that make voting accessible and convenient for all citizens to participate.
Remember Michigan voters opposed a ballot proposal in 2002 to eliminate straight ticket voting.
Click HERE to send a letter to Governor Snyder to veto SB 13. Please note you may modify the proposed letter before you send it. Or telephone him at 517-373-3400 to tell him to veto SB 13.