Weighing in on straight-ticket voting

Posted at 7:48 AM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 07:48:24-05

Michigan State student Janel Lynn admits she doesn't vote straight ticket, but she likes to have the option. "If you know that you're going to vote all Democrat or all Republican, why not save the time and just do it," Lynn said.

Senate Republicans voted to get rid of checking one box and voting all Democrat or Republican on a ballot. Political expert Matt Grossmann says they are probably doing it to sway future elections in their favor. "The effects will be somewhat mixed, and I would say pretty small," Grossman said. "That said, if you're in either political party, it's worth fighting over every last vote. But we wouldn't expect this to change major election outcomes very often."

He says moves like this aren't unusual in politics. "You would expect the majority party to benefit from any election rules changes," Grossmann said. He says it could get people to pay more attention to each race they vote on, but more than likely it will just keep people from voting on races that are lower down on the ballot.

"It could be, eliminating that option you'll have more people having already gone down the ballot make it all the way to the nonpartisan section, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more votes in judicial elections," Grossman said.

One voter says getting rid of straight-ticket voting eliminates a good option for some voters. "Most people use party identification as a significant part of their information about how candidates will act in office and then if they really think that that's the most important factor, they can use that option," Douglas Jester said.

Grossmann says people in Michigan and around the country are voting increasingly along party lines regardless.