Part of the Bay Area News Group

New tips for voting while in foreclosure

By Josh Richman
Thursday, September 20th, 2012 at 4:22 pm in housing, voter registration.

A new report highlights the confusion that people who’ve lost homes to foreclosure feel when determining how they can cast a ballot this November, and lays out ways to protect their voting rights.

The Fair Elections Legal Network’s report, “Lose Your Home, Keep Your Vote: How to Protect Voters Caught Up in Foreclosure,” is accompanied by guides tailored to 15 states – including California – on how and where people can vote depending on where they are in the foreclosure process.

“Voting is the foundation of our democracy. People dealing with the foreclosure process or whose homes have been foreclosed upon have enough to deal with without worrying about their vote counting,” network president Robert Brandon said in a news release. “With foreclosures on the rise again, the question shouldn’t be if a voter facing foreclosure can vote but where that voter can cast their ballot, and that question should be clearly answered by election officials.”

Brandon said election officials “have a duty to make sure voters have the information they need to cast a ballot and have it counted. They should be extra vigilant as Election Day nears to issue directives and educate the public and local election officials on how voters who lost their home can maintain their right to vote.”

California had the highest number of new foreclosure filings last year and, according to RealtyTrac, during the month of June 2012, California had the highest foreclosure rate nationwide this past June.

California has been hit hard by foreclosures in recent years; some areas, including the now-bankrupt city of Stockton, have been devastated. California in August was among the states with the greatest decreases (42 percent) in foreclosure starts compared to one year earlier, according to RealtyTrac, yet still posted the nation’s third highest state foreclosure rate: One in every 340 California housing units had a foreclosure filing in August, which is twice the national average.

And seven of the 10 U.S. metro areas with the most foreclosure activity in August are in California: Modesto, Merced, Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, and Chico.

Like all movers, those who facing foreclosure also face hurdles to voting such as needing to update their address and/or re-register to vote in a new jurisdiction. What a particular person must do might depend on where he or she is in the foreclosure process; for example, someone who has lost a home might still have a legal “right of redemption,” a period of time in which they could repurchase their home and during which time they can still vote from that address.

In California and 17 other states, a person can keep voting at the address of their foreclosed home until they establish a new residence in which they intend to remain. In other states, the correct polling place for a foreclosure victim is often more confusing.

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  • Elwood

    Wouldn’t want to suppress the stupid vote, now would we?

  • Truthclubber

    @1 –

    So, by your definition, anyone, and I (and you) mean ANYONE, who bought a house between 1/1/2003 and 12/31/2007 and is likely to face being severely underwater on their mortgage unless they paid 100% cash, is, in your immortal (and immoral) words, S-T-U-P-I-D?

    There are a LOT of independents AND Republican voters in that category — so please STOP what you are doing, RIGHT NOW, and volunteer for the highest possible position you can swarm your way into on the Twit Romney campaign, nationwide (where you can have the maximum “effect”), and work your @$$ off — PLEASE!!!

  • JohnW

    Re” 1

    I suspect that many of those afflicted by the foreclosure situation in the Central Valley and Inland Empire are registered Republicans. Is that what you mean by “the stupid vote?”

  • Elwood

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    It is no respecter of party affiliation.

  • RR senile columnist

    If the homeless exercised their franchise, San Francisco and Oakland would be people’s republics by now.