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Democrats ask court to defend right to vote

The Obama campaign yesterday went to court to block what it alleged was an attempt by Republicans in Michigan to stop people who lost their homes in the mortgage crisis from voting in November's election.

The suit, filed in a Michigan court yesterday, is the latest sign of contention over voting procedures. Voting rights Voting rights

The right to vote on matters that are put to a vote of security holders. For example the right to vote for directors.


voting rights

The type of voting and the amount of control held by the owners of a class of stock.
 activists in several battleground states have reported an aggressive push by Republican elected officials and activists to make it harder to vote.

In Macomb county, Michigan Macomb County is a county in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 788,149. The county seat is Mt. Clemens6. The county is part of Metro Detroit. The county was named for an early U.S. Army commander, Alexander Macomb, Jr.. , a swing constituency, Republican officials for the first time tried to use America's housing crisis as a way of striking people off lists, the Obama camp told reporters yesterday. "There is no doubt that there is an immediate threat to the voting rights of citizens in Michigan whose names could appear on a foreclosure foreclosure

Legal proceeding by which a borrower's rights to a mortgaged property may be extinguished if the borrower fails to live up to the obligations agreed to in the loan contract.
 list," said Bob Bauer Robert H. "Bob" Bauer was a minor league baseball player and manager.

Bauer had a ten year minor league playing career in the farm systems of the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees where he was used primarily at third base, but he also played some right and left
, an Obama lawyer.

The situation came to light last week when the Republican party chairman of Macomb county told a local newspaper he planned to draw on publicly available lists of home foreclosures to bar people from casting their vote.

"We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren't voting from those addresses," the official, James Carabelli, told the Michigan Messenger.

The national Republicans later distanced the party from his comment, but other state party officials confirmed there were plans to deploy an army of poll "challengers" who would check voters' credentials.

The Republicans argue that people who have lost their homes may no longer be resident at the address listed on voter records, and hence are ineligible in·el·i·gi·ble  
adj.
1. Disqualified by law, rule, or provision: ineligible to run for office; ineligible for health benefits.

2.
 to vote, and that their efforts are aimed at preventing voting fraud.

Such a claim is dismissed by campaign experts, who say there is minimal fraud in American elections.

Instead, they say the drive in Michigan to deploy poll challengers is intended to reduce turnout in poor areas and among African Americans African American Multiculture A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. See Race. , disproportionately affected by the housing crisis and thought to be likely Democratic voters.

Voting rights activists say they have already found a much more aggressive attempt by Republicans this election season to try to strike people off voting lists.

"I think that certainly the Republicans seem to be much more out front about how they are going to challenge people's right to vote," said Gerald Hebert, director of the nonpartisan campaign legal centre. "What we are seeing this time around is more of a broad-based effort, and we are also seeing the Republicans being much more assertive as·ser·tive  
adj.
Inclined to bold or confident assertion; aggressively self-assured.



as·sertive·ly adv.
 and bold in their announcements and not necessarily trying to do it under the radar This article is about the magazine. For other uses, see Under the Radar (disambiguation).

Under the Radar is an American magazine that bills itself as "The solution to music pollution." It features interviews with accompanying photo-shoots.
."

Voting rights activists in Ohio and Missouri have reported attempts to use the housing crisis to try to disqualify To deprive of eligibility or render unfit; to disable or incapacitate.

To be disqualified is to be stripped of legal capacity. A wife would be disqualified as a juror in her husband's trial for murder due to the nature of their relationship.
 voters.

In Michigan, Republican state party officials had planned to mail voters whose names appeared on a list of foreclosed homes obtained from the public records office. The idea was to compile a list of people who had been forced to move homes, but had yet to update their voter registration Voter registration is the requirement in some democracies for citizens to check in with some central registry before being allowed to vote in elections. An effort to get people to register is known as a voter registration drive. Centralized/compulsory vs.  to their new address.

Republican party workers stationed at polling stations would then challenge such voters when they turned up on election day.

Also in Ohio, the state Republican party filed a law suit seeking to block streamlined new regulations that make it easier for people to cast their ballot by early voting Early voting, is the process which voters can cast their vote on a single or series of days prior to an election. Early voting can take place remotely, such as by mail, or in person, usually in designated early voting polling stations. .

In Wisconsin, meanwhile, the state's Republican attorney general has gone to court to try to compel poll workers to match voters' names against driving licence driving licence
Noun

an official document authorizing a person to drive a motor vehicle

Noun 1. driving licence - a license authorizing the bearer to drive a motor vehicle
 records.

Florida, which has a Republican governor, also moved last week to require poll workers to check voters' names against a government database.

The stated rationale of all these moves is prevention of voter fraud, although organisations which study elections say such fraud is a minimal risk.

The effort received a boost last April when the US supreme court ruled that states were entitled to require voters to present a state-issued photo ID such as a driving licence at the polls.

Civil rights organisations argued that the requirement discriminates against the poor and the elderly, who often do not have driving licences because they cannot afford a car.

More than 20 states now require voters to show ID at the polls, and there have been a series of recent reports about elderly people losing their right to vote.
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Author:guardian.co.uk
Publication:guardian.co.uk
Date:Sep 17, 2008
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