Shady Governor Rick Snyder is starting to show his true colors. As a very moderate Democrat, I thought Gov. Snyder would a fairly reasonable republican that wasn’t as extreme as southern republicans. I have been proven wrong obviously. The emergency manager debacle, followed by the Flint water poisoning he approved and running a propaganda campaign against citizens wanting clean water, to now slowing down the voting process is giving shady Gov. Snyder all the tools necessary to create his mini-Dictatorship. Though, I have faith it will all backfire.
Gov. Snyder recently signed a bill to eliminate straight ticket voting.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that will eliminate straight party ticket voting in Michigan, but urged the state Senate to also pass a bill that will allow voters to cast absentee ballots without having to provide a reason.
“Michigan joins 40 other states that require voters to select an individual for each elective office, rather than simply selecting a political party,” Snyder wrote in a letter explaining why he signed the bill. “As governor, I have strived to put people before politics and strongly encourage voters to do the same.”
Straight ticket voting allows voters to fill in one box on the ballot to support all Democrats or all Republicans all the way down the ballot. Local clerks have said the option has helped speed voting lines, which tend to get quite long, especially in urban areas during presidential election years.
Republican state Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, tried to address those concerns by linking the no reason absentee bill to the elimination of straight ticket voting, but Republicans in the state Senate broke the tie bar, saying that absentee voting should not be expanded.
Snyder agreed with Lyons. “Voters should have at least 15 days to vote by absentee before election day. I urge the Senate to pass the (no reason absentee) bill and send it to me as soon as possible to be signed into law. This will not only provide greater access to the polls, it will also help alleviate long lines at the ballot box.”
Democrats argued that the bills would disenfranchise voters, who become frustrated by long lines and are forced to leave before voting. In 2014, in Oakland County, 109,711 people voted a straight Democratic ticket while 108,211 voted a straight Republican ticket. But in Wayne County, 224,806 people voted a straight Democratic ticket while 71,846 people voted a straight Republican ticket. In Macomb County, 60,048 people voted straight Democratic while 53,130 voted straight Republican.
Republicans have tried twice to get rid of straight-ticket voting, which is seen as benefiting Democrats. But voters have rejected those efforts both times. That option has been eliminated in 40 states.
This year, however, Republicans added a $5-million appropriation to the bill, claiming it will be used to help clerks adjust to the change with more voting equipment. But the appropriation also makes the measure immune from a referendum by voters. An amendment to remove that appropriation failed.
Gov. Synder does not care about you or your rights. If he did, he would have told Republicans he wouldn’t sign the bill unless no-reason absentee voting was included. This is a typical duck and hide scheme. Sign a harmful bill, pretend you want to make voting better and then let the republicans in the senate do the dirty work to keep disenfranchising urban voters. Now you may wonder why this is an issue…and who does it hurt. The issue is it will take longer to vote in many urban areas and it disproportionately will effect democrat voters. Every time I have voted in Michigan there have been long lines that go out of the building. Even though straight ticket voting has been removed from the majority of states, they also have other previsions to make the voting process faster. Eliminating straight ticket voting would not be an issue if:
- Michigan had ‘no reason’ absentee voting (which republicans in the state senate are against)
- Polling locations were opened for longer times
- Michigan had early voting
- Michigan had more polling stations
These issues that already make it hectic in heavily populated areas aren’t even being solved. Here’s a list of reasons long lines at voting stations are bad.
- Elderly people will have to stand at the polling stations for long periods of time and in potentially bad weather (November…in Michigan is not always pleasant)
- Long lines prevent working lower and middle income residents who often work longer hours and multiple jobs from being able to vote.
- Single-parents with young children will be discouraged from voting
- More stress on polling station volunteers
- General rule: People get discouraged when they see long lines
With that said, I am an advocate for personal responsibility and no matter how difficult it is to vote, you stand in those lines. If you don’t, then you have let Gov. Synder win and control you. A message needs to be sent that disenfranchising voters will not be a benefit. Whether or not you vote straight ticket, this will impact your voting experience. If republicans didn’t see it as a benefit to them winning, then they would tackle more important issues before the election season.