Be straight with voters

We have three words for our delegates to the Michigan House of Representatives: Just say no.

The bill stripping Michigan voters of the ability to vote straight ticket is beneath the dignity of the Legislature …
Or any other elected leader with a conscience.

“I’m so tired of partisanship,” said Sen. Patrick Colbeck, explaining his support for the legislation, which sailed through the Senate with a pre-ordained vote that fell largely, you guessed it, along partisan lines.

We’re not fans of partisanship either, but it’s preferable to the patronizing deceit of Colbeck and other Republicans who say they simply want Michigan voters to look past party affiliation when they cast their ballots.

“It should be about the candidate,” said bill sponsor Marty Knollenberg.


This is a caucus that has shown repeatedly its blatant disregard for anything and anybody who stands against the ideological, far-right crusade that has overwhelmed our Legislature.

Tired of partisanship? How about addressing the injustice of carving up legislative districts with the express purpose of solidifying the GOP’s hold on what is nominally a blue state?

Want to foster an environment in which voters weigh the merits of individual candidates rather than party affiliation? How about embracing electoral reforms — such as early voting or no-reason absentee voting — that make voting easier? For that matter, how about supporting the Secretary of State’s proposal to remove the shroud of secrecy around dark money fueling issue ads?

Want to demonstrate some respect for the democratic process? Then don’t tack on appropriations, as the Senate did with this bill, to inoculate the law from voter referendum — which, incidentally, overturned a similar law in 2001.

It’s difficult to recall a more shameless, blatantly partisan piece of legislation emerging from this august body. Republicans in the Senate back this bill for one reason and one reason only: Straight-ticket voting tends to benefit Democrats.

On the same day, the Senate passed a bill that moves the election of the Oakland County executive from presidential voting years, when Democratic turnout is strongest, to gubernatorial election years, when Democratic turnout is weaker.

And these folks want to give Michigan voters a civics lesson?

We didn’t expect to so quickly see an example of why the Michigan compares so poorly to every other state on the issue of integrity, but things happen fast in our Legislature — particularly when the object is pulling the wool over your eyes.

House Speaker Kevin Cotter hasn’t yet decided whether to take up the bill, offering a window of opportunity for residents to let their legislators know how they feel.