Clerks: State’s Appeal To Straight-Party Voting Restoration Could Be “Nightmare” for Election Prep

Municipal clerks hope voters will have straight-party option on November ballot.


Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says he’ll appeal a judge’s ruling that blocks Michigan’s new ban on straight-ticket voting.

A U.S. District Court Judge on Thursday issued preliminary injunctions on the law. The ruling said ending straight party voting would disproportionately burden African Americans.

WDET’s Jake Neher speaks with Sarah Bydalek, president of the Michigan Association of Municipal Clerks, about the ruling. She praised the court’s decision, saying straight ticket voting is good for clerks and voters.


“The clerks in Michigan are all going to be ecstatic,” says Bydalek.

“We are very happy that Judge (Gershwin A.) Drain’s ruling was to basically postpone (the straight-ticket voting ban) until after the November election to help us get through this very busy election year.”

Bydalek testified against the ban at state legislative hearings on behalf of Michigan municipal clerks, saying it would lead to longer lines and frustrated voters. She said lawmakers should at least pair the ban with a new law allowing no-reason absentee voting, which they say would help make lines shorter and balance out the effects of banning straight-party voting. That was not included in the final legislation.

If Schuette and Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson move forward with their appeal, Bydalek says, it would complicate clerks’ efforts to get ballots ready for November.

“It would be a nightmare,” she says.

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.



  • Jake Neher
    Jake Neher is senior producer for Detroit Today and host of MichMash for 101.9 WDET. He previously reported on the Michigan Legislature for the Michigan Public Radio Network.