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Activists Pin Mortgage Voter Suppression on McCain

A civil rights group is pressing Sen. John McCain to disown the “ugliest attack on voting rights” in “recent history,” referencing a Republican scheme to suppress voters based on foreclosure, which was first reported by our sister site, The Michigan Messenger.

The group, Color of Change, is a young civil rights organization that has already has some successes during this political season. It helped oust Democratic Congressman Al Wynn and scuttle a planned primary debate for Democratic presidential candidates that was slated to be cosponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus.

“John McCain’s talk about integrity and supporting democracy is just that, talk,” said the group’s director, James Rucker, in an interview with TWI. “Right now, he’s staying silent on an un-democratic program undertaken in this country, for his benefit, and in his party’s name. McCain and the RNC leadership know about these practices, but they won’t condemn or stop them. John McCain can’t shout ‘country first’ on the campaign trail and then choose to ignore his own party when they threaten the most basic right an American has – the right to vote,” added Rucker.

The group is collecting signatures for a petition urging McCain “stand up against his party’s shameful” tactics. While the practice was exposed in Michigan, Rucker also stressed that it is part of a broader pattern:

Caging–the practice being used in MI–is also being done in other states, but in Michigan it’s particularly predatory: they’re going after folks who have been hit hardest by the economy and using that fact to challenge their right to vote. We believe that highlighting this instance, where the despicable nature of the practice is so clear, is a great way to start a national, public conversation, about the tactics.

Politically, Color of Change probably has less leverage over McCain than it had its other recent adversaries, such as Black incumbent Democrats like Wynn and the CBC leadership. Yet combined with the pressure of an Obama campaign lawsuit and mounting national scrutiny, as TWI reported Thursday, this is an effort that could help force McCain to finally answer for tactics that are so widely decried, even his own allies denied deploying them once they were exposed.

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