Michigan GOP to Keep Foreclosed Citizens from Voting

Eartha Meltzer’s stunning piece in the Michigan Messenger just hit my RSS reader, and I have to say I am both astonished and disgusted by what could be the most wicked attempt at disenfranchisement in decades.

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.

Michigan Republicans are trying to further victimize those Americans that have been hit the worst by the disastrous Bush/McCain economic policies by taking away their right to vote for the change they most desperately need.

The Michigan Republicans are planning on challenging these foreclosed Americans as ineligible voters for not being “true residents.”

What’s worse is that McCain’s campaign is benefiting big-time from these predators.

The Macomb GOP’s plans are another indication of how John McCain’s campaign stands to benefit from the burgeoning number of foreclosures in the state. McCain’s regional headquarters are housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott. The firm’s founder, David A. Trott, has raised between $100,000 and $250,000 for the Republican nominee.

The Macomb County party’s plans to challenge voters who have defaulted on their house payments is likely to disproportionately affect African-Americans who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters. More than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans — the most likely kind of loan to go into default — were made to African-Americans in Michigan, according to a report issued last year by the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

And if you want to see a real contrast between the values and priorities of the Democratic and Republican parties, look at this:

Statewide, the Republican Party is gearing up for a comprehensive voter challenge campaign, according to Denise Graves, party chair for Republicans in Genessee County, which encompasses Flint. The party is creating a spreadsheet of election challenger volunteers and expects to coordinate a training with the regional McCain campaign, Graves said in an interview with Michigan Messenger.

Where Democratic organizations recruit election protection volunteers, the Republicans recruit volunteers to challenge the right to vote of American citizens. Instead of comprehensive voter registration and empowerment campaigns, they run a “comprehensive voter challenge campaign.” Just think about that for a moment. The McCain campaign is training people how to keep other Americans from voting, predominantly African-Americans.

J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department, has this to say about the Republican efforts:

“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.”

ACORN’s David Lagstein sums it up best: “The Republican-led state Senate has not moved on the anti-predatory lending bill for over a year and yet [Republicans] have time to prey on those who have fallen victim to foreclosure to suppress the vote.”

We need to be aware of these attempts to disenfranchise American citizens in all of our states and communities and do everything we can to fight against the Republicans in their war against American voters.