Issue a Statement that People Facing Foreclosure Retain Their Right to Vote

Media 10.20.08

Recipient: Pedro Cortes, President, National Association of Secretaries of State

Honorable Pedro Cortes, PA
National Association of Secretaries of State
Hall of the States
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 401
Washington, DC 20001

Dear President Cortes:

On behalf of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR), we, the undersigned groups, write to urge you, in your role as President of NASS, to call for your members to issue an immediate public statement and advisory to their local election boards to inform poll workers and the public that people facing foreclosure on their homes retain their right to vote.

Many individuals across the country are facing foreclosure of their homes. Adding to this tragedy is the fact that many also fear this situation will render them ineligible to vote. Press accounts of threats to challenge voter registration based on foreclosure information in Macomb County, Michigan among other places have placed this issue squarely in front of voters facing foreclosure.(1) This threat is especially troubling because even voters still in their homes, who merely face the possibility of foreclosure, may be led to believe that they are not allowed to vote. This concern is particularly acute because of the high percentage of traditionally disenfranchised poor and minority individuals facing foreclosure.

It is imperative that the Secretaries of State set the record straight for the voters of their states. People in foreclosure still have the right to vote. Each Secretary of State must provide clear information to the voters of his or her state about the laws surrounding the right to vote specifically for people facing foreclosure. In addition, they must ensure that poll workers are properly instructed on this issue. For these reasons, we urge you to ask each Secretary of State to issue an advisory to local election boards instructing them that a voter involved in foreclosure is not precluded from voting and to issue a public statement clarifying that all people facing foreclosure absolutely have the right to vote in the upcoming election.

In just over two weeks, voters will flock to the polls in unprecedented numbers. It is imperative that every eligible voter be allowed to cast a vote free from intimidation, misinformation or fear. Challenges such as those threatened in Macomb County serve to disenfranchise voters. We urge you to act to protect the rights of all voters. We are hopeful that you will act quickly to respond to our concerns. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Lisa Bornstein, LCCR Senior Counsel at (202) 263-2856 or [email protected].


Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR)
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Asian American Justice Center (AAJC)
Campaign Legal Center
Common Cause
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
League of Women Voters of the United States
Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF)
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (NAACPLDF)
National Education Association
National Urban League
People for the American Way (PFAW)
Union for Reform Judaism


Leslie Reynolds, Executive Director of NASS
Mike Coffman, Secretary of State, Colorado
Todd Rokita, Secretary of State, Indiana
Terri Lynn Land, Secretary of State, Michigan
Ross Miller, Secretary of State, Nevada
Elaine F. Marshall, Secretary of State, North Carolina
Kurt Browning, Secretary of State, Florida
Jennifer Brunner, Secretary of State, Ohio
Katherine K. Hanley, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Virginia

(1) Although those implicated in the news story about the Michigan challenge to foreclosed voters denied
such a plan, the matter is pending in the court, indicating that additional facts are yet to be revealed.