- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2016

The Supreme Court declined Friday to reverse lower court rulings to hold off implementing a new law in Michigan against straight-ticket balloting.

The legislation in question requires voters to vote for each individual candidate for the various offices on the ballot, eliminating a straight-party option which had been on Michigan ballots since 1891.

Two justices, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., said they would have granted a request from state officials to allow them to uphold the law in November, The New York Times reported Friday.

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A traditionally Democratic state in presidential contests since Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, GOP nominee Donald Trump has set his sights on winning the Wolverine State.

In July, federal District Court Judge Gershwin Drain, an Obama appointee, placed a temporary stay on the law, signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, saying it was “a disproportionate burden on African-Americans’ right to vote.”

“The only purpose behind” the law seemed to be “to require voters to spend more time filling more bubbles” on the ballot forms, Judge Drain said in his July ruling, The Times reported.

In August, a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld Judge Drain’s stay, with one judge writing that the extra time required of voters to find candidates of the same party would disproportionately impact minorities in urban areas, The Times reported.

“Because African-American majority districts in Michigan such as Detroit have also historically faced some of the longest wait times in the state, the increase in long lines occasioned by the elimination of straight-party voting will impact these voters to an even more significant degree,” wrote Judge Karen Nelson Moore, in the court’s opinion.

Judges Ronald Lee Gilman, a Clinton appointee, and Jane Stranch, an Obama appointee, joined the unanimous opinion. Judge Gilman also penned a concurrence.

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