Michigan Greens Support SB 13 to End Straight-Ticket Voting

Green Party of Michigan

News Release
April 3, 2015

For More Information, Contact:
Art Myatt, GPMI Vice Chair, ALMyatt@yahoo.com, (313) 815-2025
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI Media Committee, jalp5dai@att.net

The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) announces its support of Senate Bill 13 of 2015, which would end the “straight-party” ticket mechanism so often confused in its application in Michigan.

The bill was introduced January 20 by Marty Knollenberg (R-13, Troy) and assigned to the Senate Committee on Elections and Government Reform. Committee chair David Robertson (R-14, Grand Blanc) has not yet scheduled the bill for a hearing.

GPMI Vice Chair Art Myatt points out, “For years, Michigan has let voters check a party’s ‘straight-ticket’ box at the top of a general-election ballot, then split that ticket by voting against candidates of that party in individual races. But many voters don’t understand this. Worse, some poll workers don’t understand it either, and give voters who ask about it wrong advice.

“That means ‘straight-ticket’ voting is generally NOT used as intended. We are better off eliminating it entirely.”

This month’s issue of Ballot Access News notes that straight-ticket devices unfairly exclude independent candidates (listed in Michigan as having “No Party Affiliation”). And they distract voters from ballot questions and non-partisan races – which in Michigan, officially includes state Supreme Court justices.

Doug Campbell, the Green Party’s first candidate for Governor of Michigan, sums it up this way: “SB13 will take some of the decision-making power away from party bosses and return it to the voters, where it belongs.”

GPMI’s 2014 platform lists grassroots democracy as a Green Key Value, and backs other voter-centered election reforms:

• Eliminating taxpayer-funded primary elections, and making parties pay for their own selection processes.

• Ending the influence of money in politics: public financing and free air time for all legally qualified candidates, etc.

• Amending the Constitution to say corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech.

• Ending “referendum-proofing” and restoring and respecting the power of the people to petition for redress on laws.

• Voting reforms including paper ballots, counted by people; election audits; all voters voting, all votes count.

• Public financing (and free air time shortly before Election Day) for all legally qualified candidates, of any party or none.

GPMI elections co-ordinator and 2014 Attorney General candidate John Anthony La Pietra notes a good companion reform to SB 13: repeal of language in MCL 168.786 which limits voters to two minutes in the voting booth, with more time up to poll-workers. “All polling places should have enough voting stations to give voters all the time they need to complete their ballots.”

The next statewide membership meeting of GPMI is scheduled for Saturday, June 6 in Grand Rapids.

The text of SB 13 and other official information can be found at the Michigan Legislature Website:

The Senate committee’s homepage is

For GPMI’s 2014 platform on election reform, see

For more information about GPMI and its values, visit

You can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page

and follow GPMI’s Twitter feed @MIGreenParty
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Green Party of Michigan
PO Box 504
Warren, MI 48090-0504

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability