UPDATE #1: A JJP Poster linked the following report where the Michigan GOP now says the foreclosure story is completely untrue. . . .
UPDATE #2: The Michigan Messenger is sticking by its story and rejects GOP’s request for retraction . . .

Decide for yourself.
Threats of voter disenfranchisement continue with a fresh report coming out of Michigan. Apparently, the Michigan GOP and its lawyers are thinking of using the foreclosure crisis to it’s electoral advantage.

via The Michigan Messenger:

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. . . .

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

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.”

If successful, this plan could have a disproportionate impact on . . . yup, you guessed it . . .  African-American voters. . .

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. (The Michigan Messenger)

Add this to a growing list of voter suppression tactics. Obama currently leads in MI, but the state is close enough to worry about stuff like this.  Remember Tim Russert’s “Florida, Florida, Florida” in 2000?  Well, let’s hope people aren’t saying, “Michigan, Michigan, Michigan” in 2008.

This comes just weeks after a separate (equally disturbing) story broke out of Ohio.  Keep in mind, McCain, for all intents and purposes, CAN’T win this election if he loses Ohio (Obama has expanded his LEAD to 5% in that state’s latest Quinnipiac Poll).  It’s hard to see where McCain gets an extra 20 electoral votes (well, unless the GOP tactics in Michigan pan out). 

But back on August 21, The Columbus Dispatch released a story quoting the makers of the state’s touch-screen voting machines who ADMITTED to finding a programming error that DROPS VOTES.

And here’s the kicker . . .

1.) it can’t be fixed by November 4 (yup, that’s election day); and

2.) state officials still plan to use the machines anyway . . .

via The Columbus Dispatch (to the best of my knowledge, this is still current information) :

The maker of touch-screen voting machines used in half of Ohio’s counties has admitted that its own programming error is to blame for votes being dropped in some counties.

The problem can’t be fixed before the Nov. 4 election, so Premier Election Solutions and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner are issuing guidelines to counties for how to avoid the problem. . .(emphasis added)

The New York Times  also covered the story:

The machines will be used in the November election, but the company, Premier Election Solutions Inc., and state election officials said there were multiple layers of security in place, including post-election audits that match voting machine totals with a paper trail, to ensure that no votes are missed.

Now why don’t I find that reassuring?

It should not be this hard to vote.  But hey . . . I guess if you can’t beat ’em . . . disenfranchise ’em.

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