Michigan State Election Rules Aim to Disenfranchise Voters

The Macomb County, Michigan Republican Party Chair plans to use a list of foreclosed homes to prevent certain voters from casting ballots on November 4. In an interview with the Michigan Messenger, Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli said, “we will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses.” Under Michigan state election rules, parties may employ “election challengers” at the polls to ensure voter eligibility.

CNN Money reports that during the past year, a record number of homes were in foreclosure or homeowners missed at least one payment on their mortgages. Michigan has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.

According to Michigan’s Bureau of Elections (see PDF), election challengers may question a voter if they have a reasonable basis to suspect that the person is “not a true resident of the city or township”. The process also indicates that although the challenger must have information based on “a reliable source or means” to question the potential voter, the challenger “is not required to show any documentation to support such a challenge.” J. Gerald Herbert, a former voting right litigator, told The Messenger, “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.”


Michigan Messenger 9/10/08; Michigan State Bureau of Elections 9/11/08; CNN Money 9/11/08

Support eh ERA banner