House panel approves Vaupel’s bill removing vignettes from ballot

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State Rep. Hank Vaupel testifies before the House Elections and Ethics Committee regarding legislation he introduced to remove party vignettes from election ballots.

Legislation introduced by state Rep. Hank Vaupel to remove political party icons from the ballot was approved today by the House Elections and Ethics Committee.

Political vignettes are small icons first added to the ballot in the 1890s. Vaupel said ballots have changed drastically since then and the icons no longer serve a purpose.

“The icons don’t line up with the political party they’re meant to represent, and they’ve gotten so small that it’s impossible for people to identify who or what is depicted in the picture,” said Vaupel, of Handy Township. “At this point vignettes are just taking up space on the ballot.”

In addition, Vaupel said vignettes have confused some voters who think circling the icon is all they have to do to cast a straight-ticket vote.

“When people make this mistake it’s a shame because their votes don’t count, and everybody’s vote should count,” Vaupel said.

Vaupel said he was pleased to work on the bill with Livingston County Clerk Elizabeth Hundley, who joined him earlier this month to testify before the Elections and Ethics Committee.

House Bill 4177 moves to the full House for consideration.