Foreclosures Could Cost Votes

We don't need more reasons to worry about foreclosure rates. Digby, nonetheless, citing this AP/CBSnews.com
story
, provides one: the affect foreclosures could have on voting rolls....

July 29, 2008

foreclosed home
We don't need more reasons to worry about foreclosure rates.
Digby, nonetheless, citing this AP/CBSnews.com
story
, provides one: the high rate of foreclosures in Ohio and the affect election officials
believe it could have on their voting rolls.
(Digby cited the voting issue in the context of a 7/26 longer posting on Hans von
Spakovsky, "legal disenfranchisement" and "voter fraud.") There's concern that a
wave of voters, still registered to their former—foreclosed—address, will
show up to the polls on election day. This could lead to a number of
pre-election challenges or a whole lot of voters casting provisional ballots in
Ohio.

From CBSnews.com:

"It's a real issue," said Daniel Tokaji, an Ohio
State University law professor who specializes in elections. He wonders
whether foreclosures might explain the increasing percentages of
provisional votes cast between 2004 and Ohio's latest election, the
presidential primary in March.

[....]

Nearly 3,700
people are registered to vote at Columbus addresses the city lists as
vacant, according to records maintained by the city's code-enforcement
office and the Franklin County Board of Elections, The Columbus
Dispatch
reported.

The number of voters on the move is higher than that. The
Franklin County Board of Elections sent notices in January to about
27,000 residents who had filled out change-of-address forms but failed
to update their voter registrations.

During May, Ohio
ranked ninth in the country for foreclosures. And Ohio isn't the only battleground state that
made the top ten. Other states include: Nevada
leading the county, Florida in fourth, Michigan fifth, Georgia
sixth, Colorado seventh and New Jersey tenth.

"Most states put the onus on voters to re-register when they
move. Those citizens hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis have to go
through
this extra bureaucratic hurdle or else be shut out of their new polling
places,"
noted Wendy Weiser, Deputy Director of the Brennan Center's
Democracy program, in a recent conversation we had about this story.
"This
shouldn't happen," she continued, "the government should take
responsibility
for making sure that their voter rolls are up to date so that all
citizens—including those who suffered a foreclosure—can participate in
our
democracy."

Indeed, it's too bad that in this country barriers to voter
registration compound an already unfortunate situation by disenfranchising people
who are understandably busy struggling to keep roofs over their heads and may
not have the time to check on their registration status. It's important we
ensure that those who are eligible to vote, can vote. And if we work to pass a system
of universal voter registration, then people who have relocated and had their
lives completely disrupted wouldn't also be strapped with the extra task of
having to re-register to vote.


Click here to learn more about universal voter or to join our
universal voter registration action network
.