Michigan Repubs pass last-minute bill creating longer voting lines -- to stifle turnout
A lengthy line of voters fill a hallway at Battlefield High School (AFP)

Working with his counterpart in the Michigan State Senate, the Republican Speaker of the House pushed lawmakers to pass a last second bill on voting in the state that will result in longer lines -- and lower turnout, reports Eclectablog.

With both houses of the Michigan legislature preparing to adjourn for their holiday break, House Speaker Kevin Cotter, (R) convinced Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, (R) to keep his members in session so they could vote on a bill that would eliminate straight ticket voting.

Instead of adjourning for the holidays, as Meekhof had already told the press, he instead called a recess to wait for Cotter to pass the approved bill to the senate for a vote.

According to a harsh op-ed in the Detroit Free Press: "For 5½ hours, Republican state legislators personified the government they have spent the last several years warning us about: arrogant, contemptuous of its own rules, indifferent to public opinion and focused single-mindedly on the preservation of its own political power."

Another bill passed by the GOP-dominated legislature will allow more money from outside political groups into local and state elections.

GOP attempts to eliminate straight ticket voting have been proposed before, with voters rebuffing their efforts.

While both bills await the signature of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, Democratic lawmakers point out that the straight ticket bill will lead to longer lines at the polls -- which primarily affect poorer voters who often must take time off from working to vote.

Republicans defend the bill, adding that they allocated an additional $5 million for county clerks to help alleviate the lines.

Rep. Jon Hoadley (D) said the budget move is unconstitutional because money can't be combined with policy bills, before adding that the cash won't help anyway with the upcoming election.

"A $5 million appropriation is not going to get to where it needs to go in time, it will not serve the number of precincts it needs, and because they actually rejected the RFP process to buy new voting machines, this isn't going to happen right away," he stated.