Research by Jacob Rugh, a sociologist at Brigham Young University, has found that the foreclosure crisis depressed voter turnout in the 2012 and 2016 elections among Black voters in swing states like Michigan and Wisconsin.
In Florida, he found that the loss of homes to foreclosure as well as underwater mortgages lowered turnout among Latino Democrats and independents, but not Latino Republicans.
Rugh acknowledges that foreclosures and evictions are an imperfect parallel, in part because homeowners consistently vote at higher rates than renters.
But research showing that foreclosures drive voters away from the polls “does inform what we might expect from a large-scale event of many evictions,” he says, noting that the loss of residential stability, whether as an owner or a renter, can make voting more complicated.
The challenge is logistical—the need to update voter registration with a new address—but it’s also philosophical, he says: For some people, the loss of a home erodes trust in institutions, including the housing market and the voting process.