Justices OK Straight-Party Voting in Michigan

     (CN) — Michiganders will be able to vote entirely for one party with a single mark on the ballot in November after the U.S. Supreme Court declined Friday to allow a ban on straight-party voting.
     The nation’s highest court decided 6-2 to deny an application to stay a Sixth Circuit ruling against Michigan’s efforts to implement a ban on straight-party voting.
     The Cincinnati-based appeals court ruled last month to keep a law banning the popular straight-ticket option from affecting the general election in November.
     Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were in favor of granting the stay application, according to the one-page order filed Friday.
     Voters had sued over the law, known as PA 268, in May.
     The law was championed by Republicans and passed last year, eliminating the longstanding Michigan practice of being able to vote entirely for one party with a single mark on a ballot.
     A district court ruling granted a preliminary injunction against the ban, finding it would increase voting times and disproportionately affect black voters.
     Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican, claimed that ending the 125-year voting practice would not place an unconstitutional burden on voters because most other states do not allow it, and it would decrease the likelihood that voters will skip the nonpartisan section of the ballot.
     However, the Sixth Circuit disagreed, finding that PA 268 would “increase the time that it takes to vote, particularly in African-American communities where straight-party voting is prominent and where lines are often already long.”

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