How Is This Not The Story Of The Year?
by Steve M, Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 08:53:25 PM EDT
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.