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Lawmakers could OK no-reason absentee voting and eliminate straight-ticket voting

Dec 2, 2015

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

State lawmakers could make big changes to voting laws before the end of the year.

A state House panel on Wednesday approved no-reason absentee voting in Michigan. People would no longer need to meet criteria to mail in their ballots before Election Day.

Under House Bill 4724, they would still have to apply for their absentee ballots in person.

As of Wednesday, Republicans say the bill is connected to their effort to eliminate straight-ticket voting in Michigan.

State House Elections Committee chair Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, says that change would create long lines at the polls on Election Day – and that no-reason absentee voting would help make those lines shorter.

“I believe that secure, no-reason absentee voting absolutely complements eliminating straight-ticket voting,” said Lyons, who introduced the no-reason absentee voting bill.

“We need to be really aware of the impact that (eliminating straight-ticket voting) has at the polls on Election Day and we need to be able to help mitigate any of those issues. And secure, no-reason absentee voting is absolutely one of those methods that could help.”

The state Senate approved Senate Bill 13 to eliminate straight-ticket voting last month.

Lyons hopes for a vote on any elections-related legislation before the end of the year.