DETROIT (CN) – Barack Obama’s campaign has filed a class action to try to stop the Republican Party’s effort to prevent voting by those who have lost homes to foreclosure. The complaint calls the Republican plan the “lose your home, lose your vote” vote-suppression program.
The suit says Michigan seeks “to strip the right to vote of individuals who reside in homes for which a notice of foreclosure has been issued.”
Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee sued the Macomb County Republican Party, the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee in Macomb County Court.
“This complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief to challenge the ‘lose your home, lose your vote’ vote-suppression program adopted by the Macomb County Republican Party, in concert with the Michigan Republican Party and the Republican National Committee, as well as unnamed Defendants who will implement the scheme at polling places in Macomb County and throughout the State,” the complaint states.
“Republican operatives have announced that they will seek to strip the right to vote of individuals who reside in homes for which a notice of foreclosure has been issued by making challenges on Election Day to each such citizen’s right to vote. This ‘lose your home, lose your vote’ program is part of a broader scheme – misnamed an ‘election integrity’ program – to harass voters and suppress the vote throughout the State of Michigan in the upcoming election on November 4.”
The three individual plaintiffs are longtime homeowners in Macomb County whose homes are in foreclosure proceedings.
Plaintiff Duane Maletski was laid off from his job making auto parts and his home entered foreclosure proceedings in late July but he still lives there legally.
Plaintiff Sharon Lopez, 61, owns her home and is buying the home next door. That home entered foreclosure after the renter, her son, broke his leg in five places, lost his job and could not work, and Lopez’s husband was laid off from his job as a welder. The interest rate on her rental home jumped from 2 percent to 10 percent and it has entered foreclosure. So her name is on the foreclosure list, though she lives in her own home, which is not in foreclosure.
Plaintiff Frances Zick lives in the home she bought from her parents 15 years ago. Its adjustable rate mortgage rate jumped to 10%, her monthly payment rose from $1,100 to $1,800 and the lender foreclosed after she got two months behind. She works, and has worked for 17 years, as a cashier in a supermarket. She still lives in the home legally, though it is in foreclosure and may be sold.
The complaint states: “The mass and systematic challenge of voters under the Defendant Republicans’ ‘lose your home, lose your vote’ scheme will impair the right to vote of Individual Plaintiffs and all others similarly situated. The presence of an address on a list of foreclosures provides no legitimate basis for challenging a voter’s eligibility to vote, and use of such foreclosure lists for mass and systematic challenges can have but one purpose: to threaten, harass, and intimidate voters whom Defendant Republicans believe are unlikely to vote for their candidates. The result of the mass challenges envisioned by the ‘lose your home, lose your vote’ scheme will be denial and/or abridgement of the right to vote, indeterminate and inordinate delays at polling places affecting Individual Plaintiffs and all others similarly situated who must suffer through a baseless challenge process, as well as others affected by the diversion of election resources compelled by the mass, baseless challenges of the ‘lose your home, lose your vote’ scheme, and the subjection of Individual Plaintiffs and similarly situated voters to potentially harassing public questioning that is unrelated to their eligibility to vote.”
Plaintiffs are represented by James Bruinsma of Grand Rapids.