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Politics & Government

House committee votes to end straight-ticket voting

voting booths
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Flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM
The Secretary of State says local jurisdictions and school districts in 82 of Michigan's 83 counties are conducting elections today.

A state House committee has adopted a bill to eliminate the straight ticket voting option on election ballots. And the committee linked the measure’s future to a bill to make it easier to vote absentee.

Republicans say it’s a compromise that will require voters to educate themselves about candidates.

“I believe it’s important that we vote for people, not political parties,” said Representative Lisa Lyons, R-Alto. “I also think we need to be cognizant of what impacts that could have on our polling locations on Election Day.”

Clerks say voting straight-party can make lines move more quickly on Election Day. But the practice is also considered an advantage for Democrats, who typically benefit from higher turnout. 

Representative Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, said it’s an effort by Republicans to influence election results next year.  

“This whole thing just reeks of partisan politics,” he said.

Hoadley says there are other Republican-sponsored bills that would roll back some efforts to make it easier to vote absentee.

The measure also includes two appropriations – including $5 million for clerks to buy new voting machines. The appropriations also make the bills immune to referendum challenges. 

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