September 15, 2008

Michigan Messenger:

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."

Sneaky. The majority of foreclosed homes are the ones with sub-prime loans held by lower income families, who are more likely to be Democrats. So challenge them and suddenly that pledge for "honest and open elections" is so much easier:

In anticipation of problems to come, John McCain's campaign announced Monday the "Honest and Open Election Committee" to troubleshoot voter issues on Nov. 4.

In the wake of the recount in 2000, campaigns have been quick to the draw on recognizing - and solving - problems with voter access. To be sure, there are plenty of issues, such as needing identification to get a ballot.[..]

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said there were a number of issues that required advance legwork, including the proper handling of absentee ballots by military personnel deployed overseas.

Another issue is the last-minute decisions for polling places to stay open later. Rogers said the committee will work with precincts to determine under which circumstances an extension should be granted as well as agree upon a judge to handle such claims.

"You could pre-approve some judges," Rogers said, "so they're not going to somebody who's in somebody's pocket."

I'm sure everyone will be content with McCain's pre-approved judges, right?

UPDATE: Michigan Dems and the Obama Campaign Sue for Foreclosure-Related Vote-Caging

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