Initiative to expand voting access OK’d for Michigan ballot

DELTA TOWNSHIP — Michigan voters this fall will decide if the state should allow same-day registration, no-reason absentee ballots and straight-ticket voting after the certification Thursday of a third and final initiative for the statewide ballot.

The bipartisan Board of State Canvassers unanimously voted to approve the ballot measure after being told by the elections bureau that the Promote the Vote group had collected an estimated 321,000 signatures, more than the minimum 315,000 needed. The move finalized which measures will appear on the November ballot, a day after the Republican-led Legislature adopted minimum wage and paid sick day proposals rather than let them get a public vote.

In addition to the proposed constitutional amendment to expand voter registration and voting options, voters also will determine whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use and whether to alter the state constitution so that an independent commission , instead of the Legislature, draws Michigan’s congressional and legislative districts in a bid to curtail partisan gerrymandering.

Promote the Vote, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the League of Women Voters and the state and local branches of the NAACP, said its initiative would make voting more accessible and secure. A federal appeals court late Wednesday revived the state’s 2016 ban on straight-party voting , which means voters in November must go line by line if they want to vote for candidates in partisan races. In the past, a single mark could automatically count for candidates of a single party, from governor to county commissioner.