Voting the Non-Partisan Part of the Ballot

nlike most candidates running for office this year, Bridget Mary McCormack is not just asking for your vote. More importantly, she asks that you vote, correctly and completely.

A law professor and Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Michigan Law School, McCormack is one of three women endorsed as candidates by the Michigan Democratic Party for the state Supreme Court.

Others endorsed by the party are Southfield District Court Judge Shelia Johnson and Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Connie Marie Kelley. This year, voters will be able to elect up to three candidates to fill the three out of seven seats at play.

However, McCormack says most people are so focused on voting for a specific party ticket, they neglect to complete the entire ballot, leaving non-partisan races, such as the state Supreme Court race blank.

"The drop-off rate is really significant, as high as 40 percent," she says. "But if more people voted, the courts would improve."


McCormack's sister, actress Mary McCormack, recently produced a public service announcement, reuniting the cast of NBC's The West Wing, to remind voters to complete the entire ballot. The video has since gone viral.

"The main goal was to get more people to vote, no matter who you vote for," she says. Politics and partisanship too often play a role in elections, but not in ways that are helpful to the public, she says.

McCormack's campaign is different because while she can't discuss certain issues in the interest of fairness, she does make clear that her goal is to ensure that "everyone gets a fair shake" in "access to lawyers, access to courts, access to justice."

The state's Supreme Court used to be very respected, she says, but it has "taken some hits over the years." Recognizing the problem, McCormack wants to be part of the solution. "There has to be public confidence in the courts," she says.

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