Saturday, September 29, 2012

Potential voter registration fraud in Florida: GOP’s own 'ACORN' scandal?

Colo. girl registering ‘only Romney’ voters tied to firm dumped by RNC over fraud
Eli Stokols
FOX 31 Denver
September 28, 2012

The Colorado Republican Party has terminated its contract with a firm hired to run voter registration and get-out-the-vote operations here after allegations of fraud, FOX31 Denver has confirmed.

The move came at the recommendation of the Republican National Committee, leading to the termination of contracts with Strategic Allied Consulting in seven swing states, following an investigation of voter fraud by the company in Florida...

In Colorado, the state GOP has spent $466,643 — roughly half its total budget — with Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm in question.

Already this year, the RNC has funneled more than $3.1 million to the company, just formed in June by Nathan Sproul, an Arizona voting consultant who has run other firms that have been accused of dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats and other improprieties aimed at helping Republican candidates.

And FOX31 Denver has confirmed that the young woman seen registering voters outside a Colorado Springs grocery store in a YouTube video, in which she admits to trying to only register voters who support Mitt Romney, was indeed a contract employee of Sproul’s company...

Strategic Allied Consulting was hired to do voter registration drives in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada, and had been planning get-out-the-vote drives in Ohio and Wisconsin, Sproul told the Los Angeles Times Thursday.

Reports from the Federal Election Commission show that Sproul’s other company, Lincoln Strategy Group, has been paid more than $80,000 by the Romney campaign to help register voters between November 2011 and March 2012 during the GOP primary season.

Sproul told the Times he formed Strategic Allied Consulting at the request of the RNC for publicity’s sake, given past negative media coverage of Lincoln stemming from past allegations going back to 2004, when employees in Nevada and Oregon signed up Democrats but threw out their forms instead of turning them in.

Sproul has also been linked to signature fraud this election cycle in his home state of Arizona where he was working on a ballot initiative that would allow the state to nullify any federal laws it finds to be unconstitutional.

In Florida, the state GOP fired Strategic Allied Consulting on Tuesday after election workers in Palm Beach County discovered numerous registration forms that appeared to be filled out in the same handwriting, some including wrong addresses and birthdays...

Florida GOP Election Fraud scandal spreads to ten counties
*UPDATED x3 with CO Tie-in*
Daily Kos
SEP 28, 2012

...This is sort of like our ACORN story - except that ACORN actually reported fraudulent or suspicious registrations whereas Strategic Allied Consulting has been systematically trying to engage in voter registration fraud in order to add fictitious and/or redundant GOP voters to the rolls. Disgusting.

...Third Update: As someone downthread has correctly pointed out, the young lady from El Paso County, Colorado (Colorado Springs) who was only registering Republicans was indeed working for this Strategic Alllied group - that is, Nathan Sproul's group.

And FOX31 Denver has confirmed that the young woman seen registering voters outside a Colorado Springs grocery store in a YouTube video, in which she admits to trying to only register voters who support Mitt Romney, was indeed a contract employee of Sproul’s company.

“I’m actually trying to register people for a particular party,” the girl tells a woman in the video, which has been viewed more than 417,000 times. Because we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.”

Potential voter registration fraud in Florida: GOP’s own 'ACORN' scandal?
By Patrik Jonsson
The Christian Science Monitor
September 29, 2012

Saying the party has “zero tolerance” for voter fraud, the GOP also filed complaints against the company with the Florida Secretary of State’s office. The company, run by long-time GOP operative Nathan Sproul, says a single employee was responsible for the forged signatures, though the problem, by Friday, had spread to 10 counties.

"This is an issue we take extremely seriously," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer told CBS News. "When allegations were brought to our attention we severed all ties to the firm."

While reasonable, those explanations could have trouble finding traction among the US electorate, which has watched battles erupt in mostly swing states from Florida to Ohio over control of voter rolls, and heated debates about potential disenfranchisement of key Democratic constituencies, poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

Why do Election 2012 swing states matter? 5 resources to explain.

The allegations are particularly poignant in Florida, which decided the presidential race in 2000 after a massive recount was halted by the US Supreme Court in a way that gave the election to the GOP, and where the current Republican state administration has fought with the US Department of Justice over an effort to weed out illegal immigrants from the state’s voter rolls.

Even more to the point of third-party voter registration contractors, the League of Women Voters sued Florida earlier this month after it instituted a new 48-hour deadline for turning in registration forms. The state relented, reinstating a 10-day deadline.

What’s more, the fraudulent registration findings have echoes of the 2008 controversies over the now-disbanded ACORN community activism group, which was accused by Republicans in 2008 of falsifying forms.

Brad Friedman, who runs the electoral watchdog Brad Blog, helped break the story, tying it to other emerging GOP registration controversies in California and Colorado. Other states where Sproul’s firm had been hired to gather registrations have not reported any problems.

“A massive GOP voter registration scheme, which appears to involve the upper-echelons of the national party, [has begun] to emerge,” Mr. Friedman writes.

At the center of the controversy is Mr. Sproul, a long-time GOP campaign operative, whose firm has faced allegations of questionable tactics in the past, including changing or throwing out registration forms filled out by Democrats.

Quoted by Lee Fang of the nonpartisan Republic Report, former Rep. Chris Cannon (R) of Utah, during a voter fraud hearing, admitted that “the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

Mr. Sproul has worked for a string of Republican presidential campaigns, including Mitt Romney’s. He was recommended to the Florida GOP by the National Republican Committee. Until being fired Tuesday, Sproul’s company had received $1.3 million from Republicans, including nearly $700,000 from the Florida Republican Party...

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