Thursday, September 18, 2008

Republicans Plan to Disenfranchise--From Color of Change

It's the ugliest attack on voting rights we've seen in recent history --if you live in Michigan and you're in danger of losing your home to foreclosure, Republicans will try to take away your right to vote.1

McCain's response? Silence. Like Bush in 2000 and 2004, he's trying to keep a safe distance from these tactics, while benefiting from them. McCain could end this with a phone call. But he won't.

It's voter-suppression at its worst. They're taking advantage of folks falling on hard times and using it for political gain--kicking people while they're down. It's time to hold McCain publicly accountable for this strategy.

Will you join us in outing McCain for not denouncing these tactics and invite your friends and family to do the same? It just takes a moment:

For years, Republicans have engaged in "caging"--challenging the eligibility of voters on election day to suppress turnout and intimidate voters. 2 They'll often try to reject voters by claiming they don't live at the address where they're registered. This year, they've taken it to a new low--the chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan said last week, "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses." 3

In other words, they'll target every voter whose house is on a foreclosure list, and challenge their voting rights on election day. But just because your name is on a list, it doesn't mean that you've lost your home or moved. In fact, many homeowners stay in their homes for months after the foreclosure process has begun, and some people are able to catch up on their payments and reverse the process.4

So why are Republicans illegally targeting homeowners who've had a tough time under Bush's economy? Because they know they're likely to vote for Democrats, and for Obama for President. In Michigan, over 60% of sub-prime loans were made to African-Americans. 5 And in general, people who've been hit hard by the economy are less likely to vote for Republicans. This tactic won't just affect struggling homeowners--it will cause longer lines and delays at the polls for everyone that lives in a neighborhood with a high number of foreclosures. And that's the point.

After making the plan public, Michigan Republicans are backtracking and claiming they were misquoted.6 But everything indicates that these are exactly the kinds of tactics they'll use,7 and they're just trying to squash an embarrassing story.8

Similar tactics are being used across the country, but the McCain campaign simply sits in the background, quietly benefiting from voter suppression. The Obama campaign is fighting against this plan in the courts, 9 but they need our help to expose these dishonorable tactics and make this a national story.

If enough of us step up and connect the dots, we'll give the press a reason to make the connection between McCain and what's happening in Michigan. And as we've seen in our other campaigns,10 when we stand together behind a clear message, the press covers it and moves our message forward.

Calling on McCain to publicly reject these tactics is just the first step in our campaign to shame the Republican Party for attacking the voting rights of struggling homeowners.

Please join us:

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, Andre, Kai, and the rest of the team
September 17th, 2008

1. "Lose your house, lose your vote," Michigan Messenger, 9/10/08

2. "Caging list," Wikipedia

3. See reference 1.

4. "Obama campaign files suit over "voter-foreclosure" plans," Michigan Messenger, 9/16/08

5. See reference 1.

6. "Flap over foreclosure challenges in Michigan grows," Chicago Tribune, 9/16/08

7. "Former GOP operative explains why Republicans will use foreclosure lists to block voters," Michigan Messenger, 9/15/08

8. "Messenger rejects GOP plea for retraction," Michigan Messenger, 9/12/08

9. See reference 4.

10. campaign against Congressional Black Caucus debate on Fox News

11. "D.N.C. Shuns Fox in Debate Schedule," The Caucus (New York Times blog), 4/5/07

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