Never fear, speed-voters: A federal judge has ruled that straight-ticket voting in Michigan will remain, and that the Republican attempts to quash it in the state legislature amounted to discrimination against African Americans, the Free Press reports.
The GOP-controlled Senate in Lansing tried to eliminate the practice — which allows voters to cast their ballots for all candidates in a single party by checking one box — in 2015. In Michigan, straight-ticket voting tends to favor Democrats. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain saw it as a clear attempt to limit the impact of Democratic votes, Kathleen Gray wrote, quoting Drain here:
“The Court finds that eliminating the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters — success especially driven by African-Americans residing in communities with high voting-age African-American populations — was a motivating consideration in the Michigan Legislature’s enactment of PA 268. The goal of ending the Democratic Party’s success with straight-ticket voters, therefore, was achieved at the expense of African-Americans’ access to the ballot.”
In Detroit, local clerks and advocates have argued the practice should remain, because lines and ballots are often long on election days, and making it easier for voters to move through the process faster.
Only nine states allow straight-ticket voting, including neighboring Indiana.