It’s not often we talk about issues outside of Hamtramck.
But recently Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, signed into law two very bad pieces of election law that will negatively affect Hamtramck voters.
Both laws were driven by Republican legislators in an ugly display of partisan politics.
The first to be signed into law does away with allowing voters to vote a “straight ticket” – a method of voting that allows in certain races to fill in one circle on the ballot that allows either voters to vote straight Republican or Democrat.
It is a major time-saver for many voters and also helps avoid spoiled ballots.
Now, voters have to carefully read the ballot and vote for individual candidates. City clerks statewide are complaining that this needless change will lead to longer waits at the polls and the increased possibility of spoiled ballots.
No one had been clamoring for this change other than Republicans.
Republicans insist it forces voters to consider the merits of individual candidates.
The real reason is that according to studies reported by local media outlets those most likely to vote the straight ticket format are Democratic voters.
The next piece of legislation Snyder signed into law prohibits government and school agents from informing voters on ballot proposals two months leading up to election day.
That means if you want to know the meaning of a ballot proposal and ask the city clerk within that prohibited time period the clerk cannot answer your questions.
It also means school officials cannot hold informational meetings about their ballot proposals during this 60-day period.
We’re guessing Republicans want voters to remain ignorant of ballot proposals – many of which many are usually about special taxes to help fund projects — and vote against them.
For a party that professes to favor government backing off on our lives these two pieces of legislation are awfully intrusive.
As for barring government officials from talking about ballot proposals, that’s just plain unconstitutional to muzzle their right to free speech.
Our guess is that it will be struck down by the courts, but what a waste of time and money.
There seems to be a fight going on nationwide for the soul of our country. Taking away our rights is not the direction we think is the right path for our country’s future.