Sunday, September 5, 2010

Voting after foreclosure

For those who in the past few years have had their homes foreclosed on or are currently in the middle of the process, voting in the 2010 presents special challenges. Whether foreclosure has forced former homeowners to move to new counties or states, or whether these former homeowners have been forced to "bounce around" staying with friends or relatives, the increased number of displaced people this year means increased issues of where to vote, updating registrations, showing documentation of residence and meeting new, unfamiliar deadlines.

Moreover, these issues represent a disproportionate problem. A recent study shows that of the homeowners who obtained mortgages between 2005 and 2008, 8% of African American and Hispanic borrowers have lost their homes to foreclosure versus only 4.5% of white borrowers. of the total homeowner pool, 17% of Hispanic individuals, 11% of African Americans, and 7% of white borrowers have faced foreclosure.

The Fair Elections Legal Network has responded by issuing a new report entitled Lose Your Home, Keep Your Vote: How to Protect Voters Caught Up in Foreclosure, that urges election officials to interpret state law and issue clear guidance in ways that would protect voters in residential limbo this November.

FELN has also published helpful state guides to inform voters of their rights.

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