GRAND HAVEN, Mich.- Prepare for a presidential-sized turnout on November 6.
That's what the Ottawa County clerk is telling his staff, after a federal ruling blocked straight-ticket voting for the November election. This is the first time in 140 years Michigan voters will not have that option.
Ottawa County is second highest in the entire state in terms of percentage of voters that historically use the straight-ticket option.
"Basically it was a convenience for voters," Ottawa County Clerk Justin Roebuck told 13 ON YOUR SIDE.
The straight ticket vote on ballots basically worked as a 'select all'. If a voter aligned with a particular party, they could mark one box to vote for each candidate in that party.
In Ottawa County that vote was very popular. According to the Clerk's Office, in 2014, 60 percent of voters used the straight-ticket option. In 2016, 55 percent of voters used the straight-ticket option.
"So that's a substantial amount of people who have always chose that option and what concerns us is the reality of the number of selections the voter has to make," Roebuck said.
Now those voters would have to individually decide each candidate, meaning more time at the polls.
"We're predicting an additional 16 hours per polling location of voting time," Roebuck added.
Roebuck is alerting clerks to add more booths and staff to their polling places but there is something else you can do:
- Voters should research the candidates ahead of voting to reduce time at the polls
- Pick an off-peak voting time, try to avoid the morning and evening rush
- If possible, avoid the polls all together and consider voting absentee.
Michigan residents can learn more about the candidates and find out if you qualify for absentee voting here.
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