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Local GOP sues Michigan paper for libel

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  1. Libel and Privacy
 A local newspaper in Michigan is now the target of a libel lawsuit by a local Republican official who claims…

 A local newspaper in Michigan is now the target of a libel lawsuit by a local Republican official who claims comments the newspaper attributed to him, describing plans to keep registered voters from the polls, were false, Editor & Publisher reported.

Local GOP Chairman James Carabelli was quoted last month in the Michigan Messenger saying the party would "have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses." Carabelli said the words attributed to him in the article, titled "Lose your house, lose your vote," were “fabricated.” The party demanded a retraction.

 David Bennahum, CEO of the Center for Independent Media, which funds the Messenger, told E&P: “We stand by our story. We stand by our reporter. We knew that there was the possibility [of the Michigan GOP suing for defamation]”.

The dispute reflects an ongoing battle over voter registration and vetting that flairs up every four years as elections approach. According to E&P, Michigan law allows residents who have lost their homes up to two months before an election to cast a ballot in their former precinct. Barack Obama’s campaign filed a class action lawsuit last month over the alleged plan to use forcelosure lists for vetting in Michigan.