Bob Bauer, general counsel for the Obama campaign, and Mark Brewer, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, announced a lawsuit over the GOP’s plan to use foreclosure list to challenge voters in a conference call with reporters this afternoon. It was filed on behalf of the Obama campaign, the party and three Michigan residents who have had their houses foreclosed upon in recent months.
Bob Bauer called the GOP plan to use foreclosure lists “a new and especially repellent version of caging.” Caging is a technique of challenging voters where they take lists of addresses, mail to them with a “do not forward” marking and if for whatever reason those mailings are returned, they use this as a basis for claiming that the voter no longer lives at the address at which they are registered. This was a common practice in the Daley politics days in Chicago which is false and illegal.

This is illegal first, because getting a foreclosure notice is not evidence that the person’s address has changed and in Michigan, homeowners have the opportunity to redeem the foreclosure even after a sheriff’s sale has occurred, which means they can stay in the home for many months after a foreclosure notice has been sent. Second, because under Michigan law a person can vote at their old precinct if they lost their home within 60 days of the election.

Bob Brewer chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party noted that in July alone 11,000 Michigan residents received foreclosure notices. The McCain campaign, he argued, “wants to add insult to injury” by denying those residents their right to vote. “The right to vote is one of our most fundamental rights as Americans,” said Brewer, “To try to strip our fellow citizens of their right to vote is un-American and unconscionable.”

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