On Wednesday, after several contentious days of negotiation, the House and Senate came to an agreement on a bill that would eliminate straight ticket voting in Michigan. Additionally, the bill appropriates $5 million to the Department of State for the purchase of voting equipment. Due to the appropriation, the bill is referendum proof. Before final approval was granted, the legislature removed tie-barred legislation that would have allowed for no-reason absentee voting, that bill remains in the Senate Government Operations Committee. The House had tie-barred the bills to help alleviate the county clerks concerns that eliminating straight ticket voting could lead to longer lines at the polls. Senate Democratic caucus members spoke passionately in opposition to the bill and offered several amendments to the bill, all of which were not approved. Those in favor of the legislation point to the fact that forty other states have already eliminated straight ticket voting. However, those opposed are concerned this could cause voter confusion and would increase the burden on election workers. The bill will be sent to Governor Rick Snyder for final consideration.
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