Adding insult to injury

ADDING INSULT TO INJURY…. Michigan is arguably the top “blue state” target of the McCain campaign, and it’s an unpredictable contest, for a variety of reasons.

State Republicans, though, have a plan to give the McCain campaign an edge: suppress the vote.

The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan, a key swing county in a key swing state, is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people from voting in the upcoming election as part of the state GOP’s effort to challenge some voters on Election Day.

“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.

State election rules allow parties to assign “election challengers” to polls to monitor the election. In addition to observing the poll workers, these volunteers can challenge the eligibility of any voter provided they “have a good reason to believe” that the person is not eligible to vote. One allowable reason is that the person is not a “true resident of the city or township.”

The Michigan Republicans’ planned use of foreclosure lists is apparently an attempt to challenge ineligible voters as not being “true residents.”

The scheme would, of course, disproportionately affect African-American families in the area, who are more likely to vote Democratic, and more likely to be in foreclosure as a result of sub-prime loans.

This is just part of a “comprehensive voter-challenge campaign” Michigan Republicans are launching this year, which will coordinate with the regional McCain campaign to train volunteers in challenging those who wish to vote on Election Day. (Whether the foreclosure-driven scheme will be implemented statewide is unclear.)

Asked about the GOP’s efforts, Carabelli said, “I would rather not tell you all the things we are doing.”

Because nothing says “democracy” like Republicans acting in secret to prevent Americans from participating in an election. And nothing says “in touch with the needs of working families” like trying to capitalize, politically, on a foreclosure crisis, by stopping victims from voting.

The mind reels.