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A nationwide voter registration scandal appears to be unfolding before our eyes just weeks prior to the election.  This is an issue that has been frequently discussed on this and many other progressive sites, but even the most passionate onlookers are somewhat surprised about the news of the actual RNC + GOP establishment being involved.

In many battleground states stories are breaking about illegal practices in voter registration and many lead back to one man, Nathan Sproul.  If the name sounds familiar it is because he has already become a leading figure in voter suppression. He allegedly helped suppress likely democratic votes in the 2004 election.  Sproul’s Strategic Allied Consulting was fired by the GOP last week, one day after Lee fang of The Nation reported that the firm had turned in nearly 100 faked voter registration forms in 10 Florida counties.

Since then, the dots have been connected elsewhere.

For already-completed work in California, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, Strategic Allied Consulting has received $3.1 million from the GOP.  A few days of investigative reporting have made it clear that this is not the action of a rogue company.  This is a coordinated effort by the National GOP and the Romney campaign.  As Matea Gold of the Los Angeles Times reported, Republicans were so concerned that Sproul’s past violations would come back to haunt him that they requested he create a shell corporation before they paid him:

“But his reputation is such that when Sproul was tapped by the RNC to do field work this year, officials requested that he set up a new firm to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations.” The shell is called “Strategic Allied Consulting,” but Sproul’s real firm carries the name “Sproul and Associates” and “Lincoln Strategy Group.”

Now reports show that the company is doing business under other names and is heavily involved in a close California State Senate race in which many people have claimed dirty tricks are in play.  A brief state-by-state rundown..

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CALIFORNIA

The state’s Republican Party has spent $430,840 for voter registration and petition gathering to a company named “Grassroots Outreach LLC” which shares an address with Sproul’s office in Arizona and uses the same tactics that gained him infamy in the 2004 election.  In Riverside County, where the hotly contested race between Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller and Democratic Attorney Richard Roth has seen a supposed 23 percent gain in Republican party affiliation, 133 formal complaints have been filed by residents who claim they were unwillingly converted into members of the Republican party.  One can only imagine how many people have actually been subject to this if 133 people have taken formal action.  According to Lance Williams at California Watch:

One voter complained that his registration was changed to Republican after he signed what he thought was a petition to legalize marijuana. Another said he was told he was signing a petition to lower the price of gasoline, according to the affidavits.

Others said they were offered free cigarettes or a “job at the polls” if they signed some paperwork.

Also among the Democrats who said they were involuntarily re-registered as Republicans: two aides to retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Roth, a Democrat locked in a tight race with Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller for a state Senate seat.

Many of the complainants were Latino or African American.

The problem has become so pervasive in California that Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Natomas) has proposed a bill that would end the practice of paying petition gatherers and voter registration workers incentives for higher numbers of completed forms.

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COLORADO

In the ultra conservative bastion of Colorado Springs, a woman shopping at the local Safeway noticed that a teenage girl was registering only voters who said they would likely vote for Romney.  She then videotaped her own encounter with the girl via her cell phone.  The video, below, shows the girl admitting she was only trying to get registrations for one candidate.

From the video:

Teenage Girl: Would you vote for Romney or Obama?

Safeway Shopper: I thought you were registering voters a minute ago.

Teenage Girl: [puzzled] Um … I am.

Safeway Shopper: [suspiciously] All voters?

Teenage Girl: [perkily] Well, I’m actually trying to register people for a particular party. Because, we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.

After the video made its way to YouTube, Denver’s FOX 31 investigated and reported that the girl was employed by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned and operated by Nathan Sproul.  

The Colorado GOP has spent $466,643 to the firm for registration drives.  Upon release of the report, the firm was dumped by the Colorado GOP.  

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NEVADA, NORTH CAROLINA and VIRGINIA

In North Carolina, the state’s GOP has severed ties with Strategic Allied Consulting in the wake of the Florida scandal and is alerting county officials to scrutinize all new voter registrations:

North Carolina GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood said Monday the party had terminated its relationship with Virginia-based Strategic Allied Consulting, a private company paid more than $3 million to register voters in at least seven presidential battleground states.

"We take any threat to the voting process very seriously," Lockwood said.

In Nevada, allegations of voter registration fraud have surfaced that fall along the lines of the national norm.  According to Rob Munoz of KSNV My News 3:
In a statement this person gave to the Secretary of State's Office, they say they witnessed a man registering voters in Henderson and "he told her she needed to fill out another form. And when she marked democrat he told her to rip it up and fill out another form and leave party affiliation blank."

Our source was later able to fish out the form from the trash and gave us this picture.

In Virginia, the state’s GOP also fired Strategic Allied Consulting in the wake of the Florida scam, releasing the following statement.

“The Republican Party of Virginia takes any threat to the voting process very seriously. Following an alleged incident by an employee of Strategic Allied Consultants, we have terminated our contract with them effective immediately,” Chairman Pat Mullins of the Republican Party of Virginia said in a statement to CBS 6.
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INDIANA

Not only Sproul’s group is having a field day with voter fraud. In Indiana, the hypocrisy runs thick as the Secretary of State himself was caught illegally voting in 10 straight elections using the address of his ex-wife.

The story made some news in February, but it is being revisited now leaving many Indianans wondering how to trust a man with an election when he himself has a history of voter fraud:

If there were an election for dogcatcher, and it turned out that one of the leading candidates let his own dogs run wild in his neighborhood, you might think twice about casting a vote for him.

That essentially sums up the controversy surrounding Charlie White, the Republican candidate for secretary of state. White, who hopes to be the state’s next chief elections officer, now acknowledges he continued to serve on the Fishers Town Council for months after moving out of the district he represented. Along the way, he also voted in a primary in a precinct in which he apparently no longer lived.

It’s quite embarrassing.

After all, Democrats argue, how could White be taken seriously as the elections chief if he can’t even follow the law himself?

“It is our clear position that Mr. White has committed voter fraud,” Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said. “He has a lot of explaining to do, and he has serious allegations against him.”

Parker is clearly enjoying the chance to rough up a Republican candidate for statewide office. Still, he’s right.

*

The scandal is being billed as the GOP’s own version of the ACORN scandal in which voter registration forms were allegedly tampered with throughout the 2008 election cycle.  No matter the party involved, there is no room for misdeeds when it comes to election integrity.  Sadly, it has become the norm.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is big. Shows the Republicans' two faced... (8+ / 0-)

    view of the right of voting.

    If they had not been caught, you know they would have continued this atrocity.    Friggi' hypocrites, the lot of them.  
    If they can't win it, they WILL steal it.

    Whatever the Foxteapublicans say, the opposite is the truth.

    by Forward is D not R on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:38:07 AM PDT

  •  This is a pretty big deal for the GOP (5+ / 0-)

    They have essentially ceded the registration battle to the Democrats in a lot of key states.  If Democrats finish the registration period making pure net gains in new registrants, it sort of suggests that Obama has an edge in tight races.  I don't see how this is good news for the GOP.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:45:37 AM PDT

  •  The only surprise is that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Lujane

    it is limited to FL, CA, CO, NV, VA, and NC.

    We just haven't seen it all yet.

    Torture is Wrong! We live near W so you don't have to. Send love.

    by tom 47 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:13:22 AM PDT

  •  There really isn't equivalency between (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja, theotherjosh, Lujane, myboo, stlsophos

    ACORN and this. ACORN identified the fraud, notified the boards of elections in the states (IIRC), and disciplined the workers.

    Here, there is a consistent pattern of registration fraud wherein Sproul's group is either intentionally registering only Republicans and possibly destroying registrations of Democrats, or filing false registrations because the Republican party organizations that have hired them are paying per registration and Sproul's people are defrauding them to get more money.

    Republicans have no integrity as a party.

  •  Need a link. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    I sure hope someone finds an email link or other document that links the RNC with these criminals.  I hope there is a prosecution of these clowns. it would destroy the GOP for good and take their voter fraud nonsense off the table and open up a dialoge for a new Voting Rights Act that would protect us from cheats.

    Remember if the GOP is accusing you of doing something, they are probably already doing it themselves.

    “It's a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead - and find no one there” ---Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by vmckimmey on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:35:35 AM PDT

  •  The NCBOE is on it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    and will deal with any problems found.

    The North Carolina board of elections is contacting local boards of elections in the state to see if they have found any discrepancies or questionable forms being submitted by Strategic Allied. The board will decide whether to launch an investigation, said board Director Gary Bartlett. “Right now, we’re looking to see if there’s been any impropriety,” he said. “No one yet has brought to my attention that there is something wrong here, but I asked my investigator to see if we have a problem. And if we do, we will deal with it.”

    North Carolina has several safeguards in place to prevent voter registration fraud from escalating to actual voter fraud. For instance, voters must provide either the last four digits of their social security number or their driver’s license number during registration. They also must provide a birth date. The board of elections also sends postcards to registrants to verify their personal information. “Our county boards of elections are pretty good at reviewing applications and sorting out those with problems,” Bartlett said. “I’ve got to really give them credit for doing a great job.”

    http://www.newsobserver.com/...

    NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

    by bear83 on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:38:39 AM PDT

  •  AM I TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!??!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jennyp, Hey338Too, Lujane

    So criminal, fraud, asshat, O'Keefe, makes a completely bullshit video with more edits than a Bourne film, and it is national news for weeks and basically shutters an organization that was doing some real good. Meanwhile the GOP is caught red handed committing SERIOUS voter fraud and it's barely a blip?!?! This is easily the most deplorable abdication of the true role of the fourth estate in my lifetime. Just sickening.

  •  Why are private groups allowed to handle voter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    myboo

    registration? You have to go through the state to get a driver's license. The state should be the only ones allowed to process voter registrations--and/or some non-governmental organization like the League of Women Voters.

    Warning: That light at the end of the tunnel just might be an oncoming train.

    by history first on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:59:44 AM PDT

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