"West Wing" explains why you should vote for state Supreme Court

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If you haven't seen this viral video starring almost the entire cast of "West Wing," you should check it out (see below). It's not every day the stars of a beloved television show band together for a 4-minute commercial/mini-episode about a single state political race.

Technically, the race they're concerned about — "It's an apocalypse!" — is for Michigan Supreme Court. (Cast member Mary McCormack's sister is running.) But the ad addresses a larger problem that, at least a little bit, includes Montana: Voters often ignore nonpartisan races, either skipping them because they don't include the words "Democrat" or "Republican" or "Libertarian" next to a candidate, or because they're buried at the end of the ballot.

The video takes particular exception to "straight-ticket voting," which occurs in 14 states and allows one-stop voting for all candidates of a certain party; the issue, of course, being that important nonpartisan races get skipped altogether. Montana doesn't offer a straight-ticket vote, but that doesn't mean nonpartisan races aren't neglected. Tallying the results from this year's primary elections on the Secretary of State's website shows 197,266 people voted for Supreme Court Justice #5 — roughly 40,000 less than the total ballots cast.

For the record, Ed Sheehy and Laurie McKinnon square off in the general election for the aforementioned Justice #5. Assuming there's no "West Wing" video planned for either candidate, you may want to read more about them here and here.

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