Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home foreclosing? Michigan doesn't want you voting.

Voter Suppression in Michigan?
They "will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” according to party chairman James Carabelli.

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.”
The hell, people. If it weren't bad enough that lots and lots of people are losing their homes because of the mismanagement of our economy, now the same party responsible for tanking things so badly wants their victims to stay away from the polls as well.
One expert questioned the legality of the tactic.

“You can’t challenge people without a factual basis for doing so,” said J. Gerald Hebert, a former voting rights litigator for the U.S. Justice Department who now runs the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington D.C.-based public-interest law firm. “I don’t think a foreclosure notice is sufficient basis for a challenge, because people often remain in their homes after foreclosure begins and sometimes are able to negotiate and refinance.”
The article takes a while to come right out and call this vote suppression, but eventually they do.
“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.

This is yet another reason to doublecheck your voter registration. You can register to vote online now, and if you're already registered, you really need to use this site's tool to doublecheck that your registration is still valid. This isn't just for people in Michigan. Vote suppression is a big problem. VA hospitals aren't allowed to have voter registration drives. Stricter ID laws don't actually really help with voter fraud (since it's not really common for people to try and vote a billion times under different names--it's hard enough to get people to vote once), but they do keep people who don't have the money to keep around certain forms of ID from voting (for example, naturalized citizen papers for legal migrants, or passports for the rest of us).

It's one thing to make sure that everybody voting brings a valid ID so that you can check to make sure they should be there. It's quite another to have coordinated, concerted efforts to keep as many people as possible from voting. I question any party that needs to do that to win. Hell, I question any party that wants to do this to win, since it says a lot about how much they really care about representing their constituents.

And before someone says, "This isn't McCain's fault! These are just locals being assholes, and you can't pin that on the actual official campaign," I want you to check this part out as well.
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.

When asked for further details on how Republicans are compiling challenge lists, he said, “I would rather not tell you all the things we are doing.”
Go check your registration. Michigan's not the only state with a history of this nonsense. It's not uncommon, which means you guys need to be careful you don't get screwed over. We call this an ownership election! If your vote is invalidated because you're not the kind of person they want in the polls, you're on your own. You need to stay up on this to make sure that you can vote in a party that *gasp* wants you to vote.

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