How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

(Cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

Some stories just speak for themselves:

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP's effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.

"We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses," party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.

State election rules allow parties to assign "election challengers" to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they "have a good reason to believe" that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a "true resident of the city or township."

The Michigan Republicans' planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being "true residents."

Let's step back and take a look at this.  The GOP, the same party that did nothing to prevent the current housing crisis and has done nothing to help people affected by it, is going to use actual foreclosure lists in an attempt to keep people from voting them out of office.

Not only does this heartless plan have to be stopped, but it would be political malpractice to ignore it.  Find me one voter who wouldn't see this as completely outrageous.

Michigan, of course, has been one of the states hit hardest by the current downturn in the economy.  The article suggests that in Macomb County, the suburban county where the GOP plans to put this practice into effect, 1 out of every 285 homes received a foreclosure notice in the month of July alone.  That's a LOT of foreclosures.

But it's not limited to Michigan.  In fact, there are signs that this might be a national plan for the GOP:

Carabelli is not the only Republican Party official to suggest the targeting of foreclosed voters. In Ohio, Doug Preisse, director of elections in Franklin County (around the city of Columbus) and the chair of the local GOP, told The Columbus Dispatch that he has not ruled out challenging voters before the election due to foreclosure-related address issues.

Hebert, the voting-rights lawyer, sees a connection between Priesse's remarks and Carabelli's plans.

"At a minimum what you are seeing is a fairly comprehensive effort by the Republican Party, a systematic broad-based effort to put up obstacles for people to vote," he said. "Nobody is contending that these people are not legally registered to vote.

"When you are comprehensively challenging people to vote," Hebert went on, "your goals are two-fold: One is you are trying to knock people out from casting ballots; the other is to create a slowdown that will discourage others," who see a long line and realize they can't afford to stay and wait.

If I'm Barack Obama, I tear up the stump speech tomorrow and talk about nothing but this outrage, over and over again.  Let's make the national topic of discussion something that actually matters, for once.  For my money, it's a great way to get back on offense in this campaign.

Tags: 2008 election, foreclosure, Republicans (all tags)

Comments

32 Comments

Tips

I hope Democrats understand the opportunity that this story presents for them.

by Steve M 2008-09-10 08:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Tips

I can see the add now:

"Are you on the fence about the upcoming election?  Perhaps you would like to vote for McCain or Obama?  Well don't worry about it if you've fallen on hard times and your house is being forclosed upon.  The Michigan Republican party has made your choice for you.  Besides don't you have some payments you need to get working on rather than wasting your time on one little old vote in an election?"

followed by..

"make sure your vote counts, confirm your registration AND address on the local voter rolls before it is too late!"

by Why Not 2008-09-11 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Tips

"While most in this country see the record-high foreclosure rates as a problem, the Republican Party sees it as an opportunity"

by TerryVB 2008-09-11 03:31PM | 0 recs
If you follow the history of fascism

this is exactly what the many European fascist parties did with the issue of stateless people in the 20s and 30's in Europe.

The fascists used every tool at their disposal to strip them of their rights - property - and eventually, lives.

How soon we forget.

by architek 2008-09-17 04:26PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Thanks for your suggestion, SteveM.  Why don't you go knock some doors?

by lojasmo 2008-09-10 09:20PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Thanks for your suggestion as well.

by Steve M 2008-09-10 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

I will use this when I make calls, send e-mails, talk to people, and use it when I knock on doors. I learn so much on these pages, don't you?

by Hollede 2008-09-10 09:48PM | 0 recs
While you are GLOATING...

Lets not forget that millions of people have lost their homes, hopes, and livelihoods..

Which is NOT something to congratulate each other on.

The Democratic party may not be the party in power but you share the responsibility because you did NOT come out as hard as you needed to against PREDATORY LENDING.

by architek 2008-09-17 04:30PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Brilliant.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-09-10 09:28PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Awesome catch Steve, thank you for posting this. This is one of the most disgusting incidents of voter supression I have seen, and as I am sure you know, not the only form repugs use.

by Hollede 2008-09-10 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

This is fucking disgraceful, that's what this is, pardon my French. I can't stand Republicans, and crap like this is exactly why.  It just boggles the mind that they see nothing wrong with victimizing people who have already been thrown out of their homes, as if that wasn't enough of a trauma.

I'd encourage everyone to pass this along to the MSM and make sure it gets covered.

by Denny Crane 2008-09-10 10:07PM | 0 recs
This is why voter protection is important

I urge any lawyers to volunteer to do voter protection if you can take the time.

by JJE 2008-09-10 10:11PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Why isn't this surprising? Another sinister plot from the party that's afraid to let the American people hold free and fair elections.

by LakersFan 2008-09-10 11:16PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not

Is this snark?  Serious question.

by reebus 2008-09-10 11:33PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Excellent diary!

btw, Steve, off-topic but reebus called me a troll in another thread, so I stole you line.  Hope you don't mind.

by Jess81 2008-09-10 11:34PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Aha!  Change you can Xerox!  No problem, as long as you change the toner cartridge.

by Steve M 2008-09-10 11:41PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Here's something about Reebus you might not have figured out by now, guys.

He's paid to post for the McCain campaign.

by Trey Rentz 2008-09-11 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

This would put Republicans on defense, something Obama needs to do again.

Though I doubt much will be made of this (nationally at least), but hopefully.

by werd2406 2008-09-10 11:42PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Ugh.  And Republicans wonder why they have continued to lose ground among African-Americans.

Disgusting.

by Skaje 2008-09-11 01:08AM | 0 recs
Protect Voting Rights

Here are your rights if you are challenged.  If you are a or know a resident of Michigan, make sure you are familiar with your rights.

Do not allow challenges to turn you away from the polls.

Check out the Michigan ACLU site here concerning voters rights:

http://www.aclumich.org/modules.php?name =News&new_issue=20

MICHIGAN VOTER RIGHTS

Polling Place Hours:   Polling places are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

Application.  At your polling place on election day, you must fill out an application to vote form showing your name and address.  If you name is then found on the voter list, you have the right to receive a ballot and to vote.

No Identification Required.  You do not have to show identification of any kind, including a photo ID, unless you are a first-time voter in Michigan and did not register to vote in person at a government agency.  You do not have to show your voter identification card.

Right to Vote if Your Name is Missing.  If your name is not on the voter list at the polling place where you go to vote, you have the right to file a provisional ballot and to be told after the election if your ballot was counted.   You must sign an affidavit saying you are a registered voter in the precinct in which you vote.

Right to Vote Free from Harassment.  You have the right to vote without being harassed by anyone, including being asked about child support, debts, or any other matter.  The election officials are obligated to protect you from harassment.

Right to Vote if in Line when Polls Close.  If you are standing in line when the polls close at 8 p.m., you have the right to vote.

Right to Instructions and Sample Ballot.  You have the right to see a sample ballot and to ask for and receive instructions on all aspects of the voting process.

Right to Assistance.  If you are blind, unable to read or right, or otherwise challenged, you have the right to be assisted in the voting booth by a person of your choosing, so long as the person is not your employer, your employer's agent, or an officer or agent in your union.

Right to Correct Mistakes.  You have the right to a new ballot if you make mistakes on your ballot.  If the ballot counting machine rejects your ballot because of errors, you have the right to receive a new ballot and vote again.

Right to Take your Time.  You have the right to take as much time as you need.  Your voting time cannot be arbitrarily limited.

Right of Felons to Vote.  Felons have the right to vote if not in prison.

Right to Vote if Challenged.  Others can challenge your right to vote, based on reliable information that you are ineligible because you are not 18, not a U.S. citizen, or not a resident of the precinct where you are voting.  If you are challenged, an elections inspector will challenge you.  You have the right, after swearing truthfully to the facts of your eligibility, to receive and vote a challenged ballot.

Right to Vote if You Have Moved.  If you have moved within 60 days of the election and have not changed your registration, you have the right to vote one last time in the precinct where you are registered, if you have proper identification and fill out a cancellation of your old registration and an application for registration at your new address.

Right to Use a Sample Ballot, Endorsement List, or Slate Card.  You have the right to take these into the voting booth.

Right to Vote a Secret Ballot.  You have the right to vote a secret ballot.

by mydailydrunk 2008-09-11 03:35AM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Someone tell me again how the Republican Party has managed to consistently gain the perception of being morally superior?

by JDF 2008-09-11 04:49AM | 0 recs
What's next? Bringing back debtor's prison?

Seriously...

by grannyhelen 2008-09-11 04:59AM | 0 recs
this should be publicized so...

people re-register at their current place of residence.  This does smell like voter suppression (and the GOP does have a history of this) but they have the law on their side.  They will cynically target Democratic areas only.  Voters have to take the initiative to register at the right place to make sure their vote counts.

Foreclosures are about three times worse in Nevada than in Macomb County.  Michigan ranks seventh nationwide in foreclosure rates during July, 2008:

Nevada           1/106
California        1/182
Arizona           1/195
Florida            1/285
Ohio               1/375
Georgia          1/385
Michigan         1/389

Nationwide     1/464

Macomb County    1/285

   

by mboehm 2008-09-11 05:33AM | 0 recs
Ah Republicans

Always so scared of a form of voter fraud that does not exist in any sort of numbers that could affect major elections (outside of Chicago).

I would not be surprised to hear that Hans von Spakovsky has his tentacles in this plan.

by Dracomicron 2008-09-11 05:42AM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

In many cases state law allows you to vote one last time in your previous precinct if you have moved. The link mydailydrunk posted above describes Michigan (60 days). In Florida, you can vote in your new precinct if you've moved recently and if you show an ID and a document with your address, even if you haven't filed an address change for your new address. You can also vote in your old precinct one last time if you've moved within 30 days.

The U.S. Voting Rights Act says you have the right to vote if you are on the rolls in the last 90 days before the election, but I'm not familiar enough with the laws and which takes precedent to say stopping victims of foreclosure would be against federal law. Someone should look into that though.

by College Progressive 2008-09-11 05:49AM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Obama needs to say "Will John McCain denounce the tactics of these Republicans?"

Time to frame the story. Put McCain on his back foot.

by wengler 2008-09-11 11:14AM | 0 recs
This is what happens

when you bet all your chips on black turnout because you are black. Yes black voters are extremely important, but when their your only group and you've snubbed working class whites, women, and Latinos, you put yourself in a position like this. Of course Obama is not gonna fight this, just as he's back away from all the other fights in this campaign.

by Lakrosse 2008-09-11 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: This is what happens

I never would have thought to look at it that way!

To be clear, the GOP is not talking about just challenging black voters, they're talking about challenging everyone who's received a foreclosure notice.  Macomb County actually doesn't have much of a black population at all, although we can assume that any time economically disadvantaged people are the target, minorities will be disproportionately affected.

If this were Wayne County, which includes Detroit, you would have more of a point, although the correct response would probably be something like "ugh."

by Steve M 2008-09-11 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Killer, Steve, I agree, absolutely brilliant.

They have the Cajones to throw down the fake gauntlet on LipstickGate?

How about we call them out on a real one.

by WashStateBlue 2008-09-11 01:26PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Boys have cojones, girls have cajones. :)

by Steve M 2008-09-11 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Seriously, we need to end the ability to suppress the vote through voter challenges.

by TheUnknown285 2008-09-11 02:26PM | 0 recs
Re: How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?

Calling all Michigan and Ohio residents. Get your reporters and local media on this story!  Ramp this up locally - Michigans especially Michigan democrats and for that matter Ohio democrats must must be acutely tuned into the word disenfranchisement.

Is there a localized strategy on this?

by Iago 2008-09-11 05:23PM | 0 recs

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