DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Michigan’s new ban on straight-party voting, a law that was passed by Republicans but criticized by Democrats as a way to discourage turnout among minorities.
Judge Gershwin Drain signed an injunction Thursday, a week after hearing arguments. He says the law would place a “disproportionate burden” on the rights of blacks to vote in the fall election.
Lawyers say more than 70 percent of ballots in Detroit and Flint have been cast as straight-party – votes that go for all candidates of one party with just a single mark.
Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state will appeal a federal judge’s decision that blocks a ban on straight-party voting in the fall election.
John Sellek, spokesman for Attorney General Bill Schuette, says an appeal will be filed early next week. Timing is critical: Clerks say the November ballot must be completed shortly after the Aug. 2 primary election.
For more than 100 years, Michigan voters have had the option of checking a single box to vote for all candidates of one political party. The law was repealed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in January.
The state attorney general’s office, which is defending the law in court, says Michigan joined 40 other states in banning straight-party voting. The judge says that’s irrelevant.