Potential voters in Indiana scored a victory last week as the state court ruled it illegal to restrict homeowners facing foreclosure from voting. A lawsuit was filed by the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund Tuesday, against Indiana law.
The organization took the case on behalf of April and Shawn Herring, an Indianapolis couple who lost their home after the husband lost his job. In court documents, the NAACP asked the court to ban the use of foreclosure rolls as the sole basis to challenge voter rights. The organization asked that officials not use the rolls to assume voters no longer live at the residence.
The lawsuit came after the couple heard conflicting messages from the chairman of the Marion County Republican Party and the county clerk, a Democrat. Chairman Tom John said foreclosure is a “solid basis for asking someone to vote provisionally.”
Since the court’s ruling, the Marion County Republican Central Committee posted Judge Jim Jovan’s statement saying eviction doesn’t disqualify registered voter from casting ballots on its Web site.
The agreement came as a wave of “no home no vote” allegations sprung up throughout a number of swing states. In September, the Michigan Messenger, an independent Web site, quoted the chairman of the Macomb County Republican Party who said, “We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses.” James Carabelli denies the comments.
As the sub prime mortgage crisis grips the nation and thousands of families lose their homes, a “no home no vote,” would disenfranchise thousands of voters. Foreclosure could make someone ineligible to vote if the person relocated to an area outside the voting district more than 60 days before an election. But, some who’ve had their homes foreclosed may still be living in the home or in the same voting district. Thus the person would not be ineligible to vote.
Renita Burns is the editorial assistant at BlackEnterprise.com