Every major election cycle we are forced to watch Republicans run the same drill, attempting to suppress the votes of people that are not likely to support them. Usually they lead the press by the nose making wild and unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud and then use those false claims to push policies like voter ID requirements which would disenfranchise people. We have seen right wing partisans that are supposed to run elections in battleground states but instead do everything in their power to disenfranchise voters. In every major election reports pour in detailing all manner of voter misinformation and intimidation. These are all things that we have seen before, but now it looks like Republicans are going to add a sick tactic by trying to capitalize on record home foreclosures.
Basically, if you have fallen on hard times and are losing your home to foreclosure, you may also lose your right to vote. In Michigan, the chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election. They plan to have people at the polls in very specific neighborhoods, and if someone tries to vote from an address that appears on their foreclosure list, they will challenge their right to vote. Forget the fact that many people are still living in their homes after foreclosure begins and are sometimes able to negotiate and refinance.
This Michigan plan to challenge voters will disproportionately affect African Americans. According to the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth, more than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans were made to African Americans. Those subprime loans are also the kinds that are most likely to go into default. The Michigan Messenger goes on to say the following:
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.
Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kent and Genessee counties were ‘ in that order ‘ the counties with the most homeowners facing foreclosure, according to RealtyTrac. As of July, there were more than 62,000 foreclosure filings in the entire state.
The right wing has helped usher in our economic crisis through their failed policies. More specifically, their desire to deregulate helped open the door to the very predatory lending that has fed this housing crisis and the record foreclosure rates in particular. Now they are trying to use a mess of their own making for their own political advantage. They really have no shame and if they are successful, those that are suffering may not have a vote.