"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," reports Eartha Jane Melzer in The Michigan Messenger. "Statewide, the Republican Party is gearing up for a comprehensive voter challenge campaign, according to Denise Graves, party chair for Republicans in Genesee County, which encompasses Flint. The party is creating a spreadsheet of election challenger volunteers and expects to coordinate a training with the regional McCain campaign, Graves said in an interview with Michigan Messenger."UPDATE: Flinn's Journal says: "The Macomb County GOP chair has issued a statement saying the GOP won't use foreclosure lists to challenge voters at the polls. They must have been stung by the reports." The story from the Detroit Free Press is here.
UPDATE: And just how widespread is voter fraud in Michigan and the rest of the country? Apparently, it's quite rare and seldom intentional. The New York Times reports:
"Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.
"Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.
"Most of those charged have been Democrats, voting records show. Many of those charged by the Justice Department appear to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules, a review of court records and interviews with prosecutors and defense lawyers show."
Update: The Michigan Messenger has posted the following clarification on their original story:
Michigan Messenger received a letter yesterday from Douglas J. Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party in Columbus Ohio, disputing Eartha Melzer’s summary of remarks he made to a local newspaper about voter challenges.
Citing an article in the Columbus Dispatch, Melzer had reported in her story “Lose your house, lose your vote” that Priesse had said he had not ruled out voter challenges due to “foreclosure related address issues.” In his letter, Priesse said that he had not stated or implied any such thing.
While the ongoing dispute in Franklin County does concern voter challenges that are based, in part, on the eligibility of foreclosed homeowners, Priesse’s comments to the Dispatch did not specifically address the issue of foreclosed homeowners.
We have revised the article accordingly.