A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed by the Obama campaign against the Michigan GOP after a reporter from the Michigan Messenger quoted a local Republican chairman saying they would use foreclosure lists to challenge voters at the polls:

In the statement, Democrats say they alleged that Republicans were planning to use foreclosure lists to challenge voters on Election Day, and Republicans say they never intended to do that.

"To clarify the matter for all voters, all parties are pleased that they agree that the existence of a person's address on a foreclosure list does not provide a reasonable basis for challenging the person's eligibility to vote and that none of these parties will challenge any voter's eligibility on that basis," the joint statement went on to say.

Macomb County Republican Party Chairman James Carabelli denies he ever made the statement. The problem is that at least one other Republican brought up the possibility in Indiana.

County GOP Chairman Tom John said foreclosure opens the door to a residency challenge, but he said his party has no plans to pursue such challenges. However, he wouldn't rule it out.

"We might end up challenging on that," he said. "It's entirely possible. I think it would be a solid basis for asking someone to vote provisionally."

A provisional ballot is essentially a "placebo vote," as Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center put it at a conference at the Press Club earlier today.

Even if the settlement means that Michigan Republicans won't pursue the disenfranchisement of voters based on foreclosure lists, clearly other Republicans are mulling over this approach. I think it goes without saying that it's immoral to deny people the right to vote on the basis of someone losing their home.

--A. Serwer

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