Court Upholds Straight-Ticket Voting in Michigan

Written by Allie Gordon and Kate Risi, Common Cause Interns on August 1, 2016

On July 21, a federal judge struck down Michigan’s attempt to ban straight-ticket voting, finding that the restriction placed a “disproportionate burden on African-Americans’ right to vote.” The court also ruled that Michigan’s $5 million plan to upgrade the machinery of its elections to offset that burden was “woefully insufficient.”

Straight-ticket voting allows voters to vote for a party’s nominees for all offices by checking a single box. This reduces time at the ballot box and has been an option for voters in Michigan for 125 years. A ban on straight-ticket voting would have caused congestion at polling places and confused voters accustomed to using the option.

The judge’s decision cited the high correlation between “the size of the African-American voting population within a district, and the use of straight-party voting in that district.”

Dan Farough, a spokesman for Common Cause Michigan stated, “the law they passed would choke off millions of Michiganders and make tens of thousands more stand in longer lines to be heard on Election Day.”

Office: Common Cause Michigan, Common Cause National

Issues: Voting and Elections

Tags: Voting Rights

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