GOP Unleashes Kinder Gentler Tactics in Michigan
The Obama campaign today filed suit in Macomb County, Michigan to challenge what they have claimed is a GOP initiative to strike from the registered voters lists any homeowners whose homes are in foreclosure.
The following citation comes from the Michigan Messenger, the on-line outlet which claims to have first uncovered the alleged GOP election tactic.
Obama, other senators ask attorney general to weigh in on foreclosure list controversy
9/16/08 9:36 PM
A group of 14 U.S. senators including Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama signed a letter to the United States Department of Justice and specifically to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey asking him to calm fears that people who have undergone or are undergoing a foreclosure will not be allowed to vote. All of the senators who signed the letter are Democrats, and all of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee signed the letter.
The controversy arose after a story on Michigan Messenger last week in which the Macomb County Republican Chair James Carabelli indicated that foreclosure lists will be used to challenge voters. The Republican Party of Michigan has since denied the story.
Here is the source of a radio report which led to the posting here at Now Public.
Lawsuit Filed Against Macomb [County, Michigan] GOP
Posted: Tuesday, 16 September 2008 2:22PM
Lansing (AP) -- A [court challenge] has been filed to [derail] what Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign says is an attempt to keep people facing foreclosure from voting.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal district court in Detroit by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several Macomb County voters.
It asks for an injunction prohibiting the Macomb County GOP, the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee from challenging Michigan voters whose homes are on foreclosure lists.
Macomb County Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli denied last week ... that he planned to make sure no one on a list of foreclosed homes voted.
Here is the original report which appeared a week ago in the Michigan Messenger, and has started all the hoopla -
Lose your house, lose your vote
9/10/08 6:42 AM
Michigan Republicans plan to foreclose African-American voters
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.
Some more background on this story comes again from the Michigan Messenger
Former GOP operative explains why Republicans will use foreclosure lists to block voters
9/15/08 10:05 AM
Unfair but "probably" legal, using foreclosure lists provides a cheap and effective strategy for McCain campaign
Last week we reported about Republican plans to use home foreclosure lists to block voters from the polls after James Carabelli, chair of the Macomb County Republican Party, told Michigan Messenger that on election day Republican volunteers will "have a list of foreclosed homes and make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses."
Republican leaders have since disavowed plans to use foreclosure lists as part of their plan to challenge the eligibility of some voters, but an attorney for the party, Eric Doster, did confirm that the party would use returned mail to challenge voters based on residency. As veteran Republican activist Allen Raymond told Michigan Messenger in a recent interview, holding down Democratic turnout is a key part of Republican strategy for victory in November.
Raymond knows about Republican campaign tactics. For almost a decade he managed campaigns for Republicans running for state and national office. In the 2002 New Hampshire elections, he ran a phone-jamming operation aimed at blocking elderly people from arranging rides to the polls, an illegal action that he says was approved by the highest levels of the party. He spent three months in federal prison. Earlier this year, Raymond published a book about his life and work as a Republican operative, titled "Confessions of a Republican Operative: How to Rig an Election."
As for our report that the Michigan GOP planned to use foreclosure lists to block likely Democratic voters, Raymond said: "It’s a very good tactic. It works.
"It is actually a very smart thing to do," he went on, "particularly in this climate with so many foreclosures."
For Republicans, he said, targeting the foreclosures would be a cost-effective and "probably" legal method of reducing Democratic votes.
If he were still in the election business, he said, "I’d be doing that all day long."
Raymond explained how he would use foreclosure lists.
"You would go into certain geo-political areas and make a selection based on voter history and performance, and then what you would do is look for foreclosures within those geopolitical areas, and you would mail letters, and then those letters would come back and say that that person’s not there any more because their house has been foreclosed on, and they get challenged," he said.