The battle surrounding straight-ticket voting has taken a new turn, as Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an emergency motion on Wednesday. Many Republicans are hoping Michigan will join the 40 other states that have banned straight-ticket voting. But before they can do that, they have to make sure their law banning straight-ticket voting sticks.
In July, a federal judge blocked the Michigan law that banned the practice of allowing voters to use a single mark on the ballot to vote for a political party’s entire slate of candidates.
The judge said it violated voting rights of urban African-Americans who are most likely to use the option, and would likely lead to longer lines on Election Day.
The Schuette appeal says there’s no proof of that. And he says states have the right to regulate the manner in which people vote – as long as the law does not tell people who to vote for. Schuette wrote in his appeal:
This statute impacts only the manner of voting—not the right to vote. Having voters actually cast a vote for their chosen candidate—rather than blindly voting for all candidates of a party—is the very act of “voting,” so it cannot rationally be characterized as a “burden” on the right to vote.
Schuette further argued that the racially charged claims surrounding the ban of straight-ticket voting are unfounded.
“There is no rational argument that requiring all voters, minority or non-minority, to vote for their candidates is a burdensome denial that deprives minorities of an equal opportunity,” he said.
If the court grants Schuette’s motion, straight-ticket voting will not be an option on the November ballot, even though a court will likely not have decided on the legality of the statewide ban.