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Lack of straight party voting option predicted to confuse absentee ballot voters

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Absentee ballots will start arriving in Michigan mailboxes in the next few weeks. One county clerk is predicting confusion.

Genesee County Clerk John Gleason says about half his county’s voters routinely use the straight party ticket option, but starting this fall that won’t be an option.

"There’s just going to be confusion," says Gleason. "They’re going to look at that ballot and say 'what in the world happened to the Democrat and Republican straight party option?'"

What happened was the Michigan legislature voted to ban straight party voting in 2015. The U.S. Supreme Court declined a request earlier this month to keep the option on the November ballot.

The Secretary of State’s office plans to educate voters about the changes to the ballot.

"We’ll be putting out more communications to the public to educate them about voting the whole ballot, which really they should have been doing anyway for nonpartisan races and ballot questions," says Fred Woodhams, Michigan Secretary of State spokesman.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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