Michigan Dems file lawsuit against Macomb Co. GOP

By | September 16, 2008

Democrats in Michigan are trying to block what they call a Republican effort to deny voting rights to people facing foreclosure.

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, the Democratic National Committee and several voters filed Tuesday for an injunction to prohibit the GOP from challenging Michigan voters whose homes are on foreclosure lists. Republicans say they are doing no such thing.

Macomb County Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli denied last week that he had told a writer for the liberal Web site MichiganMessenger.com that he planned to make sure no one on a list of foreclosed homes voted in his county. “The story is not true,” he said.

Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer said Republicans have tried in the past to discourage Democratic voters at polling stations and, “I simply do not believe his denial. This fits the pattern we’ve seen here in Michigan.”

Obama campaign general counsel Bob Bauer said any “lose your home, lose your vote” tactic creates an atmosphere of intimidation that could drive voters from the polls. State Republicans said the accusation makes no sense because the lists don’t give them information on where a voter lives.

Brewer said more than 11,000 homes in Michigan received a foreclosure notice in July. The state has one of the nation’s highest foreclosure rates, and figures show more than half of the foreclosed homes are owned by blacks, who as a group lean to Obama and Democrats.

Macomb County, north of Detroit, is a swing area in presidential elections and capable of tipping the battleground state either way. Both Obama and Republican rival John McCain have campaigned in the county.

KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN (AP)