What the End of Straight Ticket voting means for Michigan

In 2015, the Michigan legislature passed PA 268 which ended the practice of straight ticket voting- making one mark to vote for all the candidates for one party. After many court challenges, the law will finally take effect for this November’s election.

The Libertarian Party of Michigan has long been opposed to straight ticket voting as it was seen to hurt party candidates running for “down ticket” offices. I saw this first hand when I was running for Gaines Township Trustee in 2004. A first time voter told the election worker “I have never voted before, I just want to vote for (President George W.) Bush”. The worker encouraged him to vote straight republican, giving every Republican, even ones the voter did not know or care about, a vote- including my opponents.

Eliminating straight ticket voting will encourage every voter to look at every candidate they vote for and pick them based on their individual ideas, character and integrity- or choose not to vote for any candidates for an office. You do not have to vote for every race on the ballot. The Democrats and Republicans have used straight ticket voting for winning lower offices based on the media attention of the Governor, US Senate or Presidential candidates. Candidates for State Representative for instances have to do very little campaigning of their own when running in a district where the “top of ticket” candidates are popular. Many times winning while most of the people who voted for them couldn’t even tell you the candidates name.

What many voters may not have considered is that being in a certain party does not mean a candidate has the same values, beliefs or integrity as other members of the party. A candidate could be from a party that is thought of small government but support big government, central planning schemes. I encourage every voter to use this opportunity to look beyond party labels this election. Carefully consider for each candidate, Does this candidate stand up for me and supports my own choices, or wants the State to make decisions for me? This is a real opportunity to pick ALL candidates that support your views. Don’t select just because someone has the Republican, Democrat or even Libertarian label next to their name. Make sure the candidate really shares your values. The elimination of straight ticket voting will make all candidates more accountable. Make sure they give you answers to questions important to you. Ask them what the proper role of the state should be.

This year choose wisely, not blindly!