During a late-night session, the House and Senate passed Senate Bill 13, which would eliminate the straight-party voting option on Michigan’s ballots. This bill has been particularly controversial, as the elimination of straight-ticket voting has been passed twice in Michigan’s history, and both times been repealed through voter referendum. In order to prevent voters from repealing this bill, House Republicans attached an appropriation of $5 million, making it referendum-proof.
The House Elections Committee heard several hours of testimony from county clerks, election experts, seniors and disabled individuals who predicted that this bill would increase the amount of time voters would spend voting, lead to longer lines at polling locations and cost the state more money to administer elections. Michigan already ranks sixth in the country for longest lines at the polls, averaging a 22-minute wait time. It is disheartening that some of my colleagues are attempting to make voting, the most fundamental right of our democracy, more difficult.
The bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder’s desk for signing. I am hopeful the governor will stand with Michigan’s voters and choose not to sign away our right to choose straight party voting.