No more straight-ticket voting in Michigan

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By William Thiede
MI First Election

On Jan. 5, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill eliminating single-party, straight-ticket voting.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan will join 40 states that have eliminated straight-ticket voting.

Lisa Canada, a political and legislative director, said “In cities like Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, etc.… where the lines are often very long, a percentage of people will not want to stand in even longer lines than they have in the past, and therefore will not vote.” Canada, who works with the Carpenters Union of Detroit, said that Democratic voters will be affected most.

First-time voter Richard Vadasy. Photo by William Thiede

First-time voter Richard Vadasy. Photo by William Thiede

Around half of Michigan Democrats vote straight tickets, said Canada.

Richard Vadasy, a first-time voter, said it’s good that straight-ticket voting has been eliminated.

“It’s definitely harmful to the whole election,” said Vadasy. “It doesn’t allow the individuals to look at all the candidates and see who they like more or less.”

Vadasy said he thinks straight-ticket voting will soon be eliminated in all 50 states.

“It not only makes sense for the voting to be done. Plus, every Republican is in favor of eliminating it,” said Vadasy.

Every year, several states pass bills to eliminate straight-ticket voting. Also, there are bills that are trying to bring it back, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

It is no coincidence that multiple states have recently passed bills eliminating straight-ticket voting, said Canada. “There has been an enormous amount of planning and money put into states across the country to pass bills such as this, and others that will turn off Democratic voters such as mandatory IDs, moving/changing election cycles to benefit Republican candidates and not allowing no-reason absentee or early voting,” said Canada.

Joey Loselle, another first-time voter, said he does not think these bills will have that big of an impact on voter turnout.

“I believe that voters, mostly Democrat, will want to come out even more now and vote,” said Loselle. “I understand that a lot of Democratic voters use this method, but these voters will get used to it and still go out and vote.”

Canada said voters get discouraged by straight-ticket voting, said Canada. “We should be encouraging our citizens to register and vote, not discouraging,” she said.

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