Michigan (And Maybe Ohio): Lose Your Home, Lose Your Vote

I have been naive enough to have believed we live in a democracy, although the evidence contradicting that view is more obvious with every passing day. Michigan Republicans plan to challenge the eligibility of voters whose homes have been foreclosed. Talk about adding insult to injury.

From Michigan Messenger (hat tip Credit Slips):

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.”….

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…

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…..

Challenging all voters registered to foreclosed homes could disrupt some polling places, especially in the Detroit metropolitan area. According to the real estate Web site RealtyTrac, one in every 176 households in Wayne County, metropolitan Detroit, received a foreclosure filing during the month of July. In Macomb County, the figure was one household in every 285, meaning that 1,834 homeowners received the bad news in just one month. The Macomb County foreclosure rate puts it in the top three percent of all U.S. counties in the number of distressed homeowners.

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  1. breadcrumbs

    Homeowners who have recently been foreclosed on are not going to be happy with the state of the economy and therefore, very likely to vote on the basis of populist economic policy, i.e., Democrat.

    This is quite clever, in an evil sort of way – bad economic policy and corruption has led to these foreclosures, and now the foreclosees are not allowed to vote against the continuation of the incompetence and corruption.

  2. Anonymous

    I actually find the Republican response clever, if a little demonic, but it makes perfect sense. How else do you challenge the possibility that someone with a foreclosed property potentially voted twice (once at the foreclosed property, and once at their new residence)? Last time I checked, it was one person, one vote. For the record I’m not a fan of either party.

  3. Anonymous

    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.”

    There goes all the old folks in the senior housing, and all the kids that just turned 18; guess that just leaves white people in comparable homes that want to vote Republican/Nazi

  4. Anonymous

    Typically, white, male property owners twenty-one or older could vote. Some colonists not only accepted these restrictions but also opposed broadening the franchise. Duke University professor Alexander Keyssar wrote in The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States:

    At its birth, the United States was not a democratic nation—far from it. The very word “democracy” had pejorative overtones, summoning up images of disorder, government by the unfit, even mob rule. In practice, moreover, relatively few of the nation’s inhabitants were able to participate in elections: among the excluded were most African Americans, Native Americans, women, men who had not attained their majority, and white males who did not own land.

    John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and later president, wrote in 1776 that no good could come from enfranchising more Americans:

    Depend upon it, Sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end to it. New claims will arise; women will demand the vote; lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks to one common level.

    Colonial Voting restrictions reflected eighteenth-century English notions about gender, race, prudence, and financial success, as well as vested interest. Arguments for a white, male-only electorate focused on what the men of the era conceived of as the delicate nature of women and their inability to deal with the coarse realities of politics, as well as convictions about race and religion. African Americans and Native Americans were excluded, and, at different times and places, the Protestant majority denied the vote to Catholics and Jews. In some places, propertied women, free blacks, and Native Americans could vote, but those exceptions were just that. They were not signs of a popular belief in universal suffrage.


  5. breadcrumbs

    Anonymous – given how easily the swing vote can be persuaded to vote against its economic interests – and how many millions vote on the basis of nothing more than having a good feeling about one guy or the other – I wonder if John Adams wasn’t onto something there.

  6. zerobeta

    This is a dangerous proposal that could potentially backfire. If you take away the right for someone to vote by whether or not they have foreclosed, one would think that it would create the incentive for people not to foreclose. But I think it will have the opposite effect. Foreclosure for many is not a choice but the only option. They want to stay in their home but they just can’t financially manage the cost to do so, therefore they are forced to foreclose. If you have a majority of people who intend to vote for a certain person or party mostly for economic reasons and a subset of them, whose vote is necessary to ensure their candidate will win, are restricted their right to vote due of foreclosure on their homes, another subset of people (those who have not foreclosed but are approaching it) could potentially exercise the same voting power by foreclosing themselves. The measure is thus the tipping point for many people who still have somewhat of a choice.

    The non-foreclosed voters indirectly lose the value of their vote due to the shrewd politics. Since their vote no longer has any economic value in their eyes, they have one choice that improves their economic situation, as well as undermines the establishment that stole their votes. They can choose to walk away from their home – essentially voting through foreclosure. They believe that the opposing party is interested in them staying in their homes. At least in the short term they stand to gain both financially and politically by exercising this put option – walking away from a home they can barely afford.

    While highly unlikely, it really would be the most optimal strategy, and I do envision a point where it could potentially happen.

  7. Anonymous

    The ideal outcome of course would be to disenfranchise ALL people likely to vote Democrat. Thats what Diebold is for ;)

  8. Anonymous

    As someone who does not believe that Americans are anywhere near competent when it comes to voting, I think there should be some restrictions. Perhaps citing the bill of rights? After all the constitution is what the government is supposed to uphold so why should someone who doesn’t know the 10 basic rights be allowed to vote?

  9. Cash Mundy

    Up until the election of Reagan, it was generally understood that leaders should be of some notable stature, if not the best and brightest. Much as dear old Nixon (to think we could ever look back to him as part of the Good Old days!) was a crook (by contemporary standards, not the debased practices of the present post-Republic era), he was not a stupid mediocrity. 1980 was the (probably already irreversible) turning-point, the Clinton years a punctuation, the (re)election of the Shrub the end.

    Now the last best hope, well-spoken, obviously intelligent, possessed of charisma and youth and yet also Presidential gravitas unseen since Carter, is slipping in the polls for precisely these reasons, while McMonty Hall and his May-December sidekick promise whatever is behind Door Number Three.

    My father once told me that he had heard it said that once the electorate realises it can vote itself money, a democracy is doomed. I would add that once they realise they can elect their worst instead of their best, it is buried.

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity….
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

  10. Shawn H

    From the new Fannie guidelines:

    “When a conforming mortgage loan is secured by the borrower’s principal residence, there is no limitation on the number of one-to-four unit financed properties in which the borrower may have an individual or joint ownership interest. If the conforming mortgage will be secured by a second home or investment property, the borrower is currently limited to no more than ten financed properties.”


    If the American Dream is to own one home, then it should be one home per person. Even after the gov’t takeover, they are still simply providing subsidized investing.

    I’d venture to bet that 5% of Americans caused 95% of the damage. If the government is giving out free call options on housing prices, then why not load up?

  11. Anonymous

    This is how democracy is supposed to work. I can’t believe anyone has a problem with this. All the Republican guy is saying is that if he gets a voter that says he is from one of the addresses on his list, he will challenge the ability of that person to vote SINCE HE CLEARLY NO LONGER LIVES THERE.

    Dont miss the point on this. Its not a racist thing, its what should be done in every election and in fact is the reason you have a R and a D at most polls to challenge people who they dont think are eligible to vote.

    D’s are known for sending in dead people to vote. Just ask Philadelphia. It wouldn’t be hard to send 1000 people to polls and give the name of someone who lived in one of those foreclosed homes- especially in states where they don’t ask for ID.


  12. John Hummel


    Congratulations for being batsh!t *stupid*.

    Just because someone has a foreclosure notice does *not* mean they don’t live in the house. Many states have laws stating that the person can live there even after the foreclosure notice *until all proceedings are complete*. What if the person has just been foreclosed upon, and is living in a hotel while they wait for a home sale? Living with family? What if they were foreclosed upon 1 week before the election, so there’s not enough time to register at a new address?

    The person has already proven that they are an eligible voter under the laws. Just because a piece of paper says that the title to their house has been seized does *not* negate their right to vote.

    This law does one thing and one thing only: finds a way to disenfranchise voters, and deny them the right to vote for the sin of not having enough money. If that’s the way we’re going, then we might as well just sell stock in the country, and only let those who can buy the “Prime A shares” voting rights and let the rest hope for “trickle down” rights.

  13. Richard Kline

    I know Macomb county, and this is JUST the way they think up that way. But those vote challengers would look just great dressed in tar and feathers, so bring ’em on. —Except the American public just doesn’t have the brass for defending its rights: it traded that kind of mettle for a ring in its appendage on the gravy train, and can’t buy a clue on how to organize against power in its own interest. While the financial crisis we watch is worrisome, even fascinating in a horror-ugly kind of way, it is the US election which I find ghastly in the disgustingly feckless vapidity it reveals of the American voting public. It is difficult to think, in this entire election cycle, of a single presentation of perspicacity and credibility from any real individual running for office in any party. If this lot of dross is the best our leadership class can generate all I can say is, “Disssss-misssed!”

    . . . And the very worst aspect is that the citizenry passively _expects_ some Great Elected One to step forward and solve all our problems painlessly and profitably. There isn’t a wavicle of organizing by any group affected by loss or motivated by civil commiment, just a longing for Daddy Money to make it all better. Passivity is the raw stock of fascism, and we have mountains o’ the stuff, heaped up in every suburb.

  14. Anonymous

    you are insulting the rest of the world by calling yourself a ‘democracy’.
    if you don’t own your home you can’t vote, WTF????

  15. Anonymous

    I want to know if there list if of properties that are fully foreclosed or just in the process of foreclosure.

  16. Matt Dubuque


    I’d love to be able to describe our political system as a representative democracy, but, sadly, I cannot.

    One key data point for that conclusion is that there has NOT been a SINGLE US Senator since 1900 who has NOT been a millionaire.

    Not a single one.

    That seems to be an extraordinarily skewed distribution to me.

    Matt Dubuque

  17. doc holiday

    The reality in all this, is that the people who will blindly vote for Mc/Palin either will not read anything about this challenging event and thus the debate it should provoke — or more likely, these people that make up the vast majority of down home republicans simply do not have the ability to read noth’n — and this the way it gonna be!

  18. Anonymous

    The Republicans are making one incredible blunder on top of another. This is the ammo that the Democrats needed to blow up Sarah Palin’s bridge. These are small town Republican home boys taking the vote away from the victims of the banks venality. What do you think the Obama campaign is going to do with this? They can now show that not only is the top of the Republican party corrupt, the entire party is. It simply shows how desperate they are and that they will use any trick they can to maintain their wealth and power. This is not just clever and diabolical, it is stupid. The Republicans have just torpedoed the only thing they have going for them – Sarah Palin.

  19. Anonymous

    I find this more that slightly funny. The Republicans are “bad” because they are trying to enforce election laws of long standing.

    Wow. A new thought crime in America. Enforcing the law.

    I guess, Obama should withdraw from the election on principle now. How did he enter Chicago politics? Dirty tricks.

    What were those dirty tricks? Enforcing election laws.

    Get a life folks. Using election laws for partisan gain is legal and conventional.

  20. Anonymous

    Having grown up in Chicago where “registered” voters have used vacant lots as home addresses for over a century, I think this idea has been a long time coming.

  21. Prairie Star

    You are all confusing the voting issue. The intent was to be sure that “foreclosed” property owners did not use the address to vote TWICE or more times, in the “foreclosed property” voting arena, and again in the “new property” voting arena, plus any other “property address” that the party boss thought they could get by with.

    What is wrong with you people?

    The word “foreclosed” means that the former owners no longer own the property and, therefore, can’t use that address as a legal voting address. It has been foreclosed by a legal procedure and taken over by the bank that the former owners didn’t pay. Get a grip.

    It is a far cry from “foreclosure notice” or “default notice” to “foreclosed”. Try to understand the difference, and don’t automatically assume that someone is being done out of their right to vote.

    Even “foreclosed” owners have the right to vote anywhere they live so long as it is their legal address, if they have properly registered to do so. Foreclosed owners no longer have that right at that address, but they still have the right to vote where they live now.

    There have been many instances of multi-votes by one person in several jurisdictions, even in several different states. If we are ever to solve the problem of underhanded and dirty tricks (read “underhanded and dirty politics”), we must have many ways to assure that people get “one Vote” each. Period.

    As far as “default” constituting a reasonable challenge to residency at a given address, it does not do so. You can live in a property until you are foreclosed or evicted after foreclosure. And you can vote from that address as your legal address, so long as you have not been foreclosed and evicted.

    The idea is to solve one of the problems with multi-vote casting which has taken place in many jurisdictions in recent years.

  22. K Ackermann

    Prairie Star and the rest of you who think this is fair or clever have drank the Kool Aid.

    That you would side with or admire this action is very telling toward the type of people you are.

    That you actually fear there is a large number of people out there running around commiting voter fraud is asinine, but no statistic is going to deprive you of your fear and hate.

    Do you realize that people move for other reasons too? Why not challenge them? Why not challenge everybody and assume all people are out to commit voter fraud?

    Honest to God, your parents would think twice about their stance on abortion if they knew what their children thought about democracy.

  23. Anonymous

    Members of households that have been forced by a foreclosure (or eviction from rental quarters) to move will either have a new address, or be homeless. In either case, they can vote in November, provided they complete registration by 30 days before the election.

    Felons, as long as they are not currently in prison or jail, can vote in Michigan. But, felon or not, it is still illegal to vote more than once, hence it is appropriate to make sure no one can vote from two or more addresses.

  24. J.

    The last decades have been a period of delegitimization/authoritarianism, which is not over but Soon enough Democracy will be made where it must be, in the workplaces and in the streets of America.
    Voting, as it legitimizes a become illegitimate duopoly, is undemocratic.

  25. Anonymous

    Lots of bile contention and name calling, and still there’s not that many calls for voting via bullets… The biggest problem this country has is the (few) people who think their problems are (a) important to everyone (b) actually problems.

  26. Anonymous

    this is the “icing on the cake” for me… I am renouncing my membership in the republican party.. and going independent. our great “conservative” republicans are going to bankrupt our country (bankrupt our morals too..)

  27. Anonymous

    This is new high in duplicity and hypocrisy. It’s OK that Obama started out as a “community organizer” for ACORN, an organization that has been massively involved in vote fraud across the United States.

    But when Republicans seek to enforce the law, Democracy at self is at stake.

    Isn’t vote fraud a greater threat to Democracy than election law enforcement? I guess not if the fraudsters are Democrats…

    Then its saintly.

  28. Francois

    “This is new high in duplicity and hypocrisy. It’s OK that Obama started out as a “community organizer” for ACORN, an organization that has been massively involved in vote fraud across the United States.”


    You can’t even give one credible link to your statement.

    We know who the dishonest lying cheats are in this election. They had 8 years to prove their political philosophy and it’s been a total and abject FAILURE.

    Just go away asshat.

  29. Cash Mundy

    Ex-Republican Independent: If you don’t like Obama, you might like Ron Paul or Bob Barr. The best we can hope for until the two-party duopoly and associated MSM hegemony is broken is damage limitation. I would still recommend considering Obama given the alternative: the usual lesser-of-evils choice.

  30. Francois

    Your “source” is Michelle Malkin?

    Are you here to insult our intelligence?

    Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about any Republican operative who went to jail for electoral fraud right?

  31. Francois

    “U.S. Attorney Fired After Failing to Indict ACORN for Voter Fraud

    There are new developments in the scandal over the Bush administration’s firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. One of the dismissed prosecutors has revealed that he was pressured by Republican officials to target the advocacy group ACORN for voter fraud. ACORN was working on a voter registration drive in low-income and largely minority neighborhoods in New Mexico. David Iglesias told Newsweek that he found no case worth bringing against ACORN. But that apparently did not please the White House. Last week Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s ex-chief of staff D. Kyle Sampson testified that during the run-up to the mid-term election White House adviser Karl Rove complained that Iglesias and two other U.S. Attorneys had not done enough to prosecute so-called voter fraud.”

    Karl Rove worried about voters rights?

    Does a chicken entrust its safety to Colonel Sanders?

  32. Francois

    That should show to anyone how phony and dishonest Michelle Malkin truly is:

    “Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including “Leon Spinks,” “Frekkie Magoal” and “Fruto Boy Crispila.” Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN’s criminal sabotage “an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls.”

    Is that so?

    Not quite!


    WASHINGTON – December 14 – Today, Project Vote congratulated the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on the dismissal of the third and final voter registration fraud lawsuit brought against the group in 2004. ACORN, in partnership with Project Vote, ran the largest non-partisan voter outreach program in the 2004 election cycle, registering 1.15 million low-income and minority citizens in 26 states and contacting 2.3 million through Get-Out-the-Vote efforts. In 2004, several politically motivated law firms brought baseless charges of voter registration fraud against ACORN in an effort to inhibit its work to register low-income and minority voters.

    “For twenty years, we have worked with ACORN to ensure the voices of low-income and minority Americans are heard at the ballot box,” said Holli Holliday, National Director of Project Vote. “We have complete confidence in ACORN’s quality control process and are not at all surprised these lawsuits and investigations have collapsed. Today, we celebrate this as a victory for voters.”

    One year after the contentious 2004 election, it is clear that politically motivated law firms and organizations leveled unfounded allegations of fraud against ACORN with the goal of tarnishing the community group’s reputation and inhibiting its work. In recent months, three highly publicized legal challenges brought against ACORN staff have been dismissed or withdrawn for lack of evidence. In Ohio, a lawsuit funded by the conservative Free Enterprise Coalition and litigated by the law firm of Shumaker, Loop and Kendrick collapsed on October 28. Two Florida lawsuits, based solely on claims by convicted felon and ex-ACORN employee Mac Stuart and litigated by Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, Adler of Fort Lauderdale, were dismissed with prejudice. Stuart admitted to making false statements against ACORN.

  33. Anonymous

    my goodness- why would anyone who lost their house want to vote for a Democrat that caused them to lose their home in the first place? I mean, Obama was on the front lines fighting for banks to give people credit to buy a house and threatened them with lawsuits if they didn’t (that was part of his “community organizer work-he used his law degree and his “smarts” to get those wonderful home loans for low-income families in bad neighborhoods) And what do you know….low income families can’t afford houses!
    yes, yes, I know…predatory lenders…well, you know what? I was offered a mortgage with a low flexible rate, but we opted to take the higher FIXED rate because I did some research and I took a class on buying a house. I was prepared! Some of these people got a 5% or lower interest rate that blew to 15% by the time it was all said and done. Me- I’m sitting nice and cozy in my house that has a 7.3% interest rate that will never change! Even though my lender just got bought out 2 weeks ago by JP Morgan!

  34. alex

    so many people are voting with out knowing about the leader and his back ground with out knowing any one people are voting for them and making them as leaders the people have to choose a right person for voting

    michigan drug rehab

  35. The Idiom Post

    hey, duke smart guy who wrote a long comment we are not a democracy and never were, we a a republic look it up. Trying to sound all smart I'm from duke or whatever. "what are we a lady asked. "A REPUBLIC if you can keep it he replied. Look it up which of are 4 fathers said this. When you can answer maybe you will know more about the country your claim all mighty knowledge of. You probably have posters of hannity on your wall and play with yourself while worshiping him. dork

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