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Schuette Says Appeal Of Voting Decision In The Works

Jul 26, 2016

Straight ticket voting ballot
Credit John Bollwitt / flickr.com

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has taken the first step to appeal a court decision that lifted the state’s ban on voters using the straight-ticket option to vote for an entire party’s slate of candidates on the November ballot. 


Schuette’s office filed a notice that an appeal with the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is in the works.  The state’s legal team is working on a motion to block the judge’s order in time to get ballots printed in the fashion that Republicans would prefer – without the straight-ticket option for voters. 

Republicans say voters should have to vote individually in every race on the ballot, and not simply for a political party.  Forty other states have similar laws.

A federal judge in Detroit last week put a new state law on hold.  It banned the 125-year-old practice of allowing voters to use a single mark on the ballot to support a political party’s entire slate of candidates. 

The judge said the ban discriminates against urban, African-American voters most likely to use the straight-ticket option.  He also said the ban would lead to longer lines and confusion on Election Day

Straight-ticket voting has typically worked more to benefit Democrats, especially in races lower on the ballot.  Republicans think they’re losing those elections for offices like university boards and the state board of education because of all these people casting a single straight-party vote instead of going down the ballot and either voting in every individual race or quitting once they’ve lost interest.  

The fight needs to be settled in time to get absentee ballots printed and in the mail by September 24th.

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org