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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
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Once again, as they're coming in too fast for us to fully dig in to most of these, but you should know about them, so here's our quick round-up, for now, of the latest...
• Maricopa County, AZ Gives Wrong Election Date to Hispanic Voters. Again.: The largest county in AZ, the one with Phoenix in it, admitted last week that materials for Hispanic voters had incorrectly given the date of the November 6 election as November 8. They said it was a small error that didn't affect a lot of voters. This week, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department admits that they did it again: "Yvonne Reed confirms to ABC15 that bookmarks distributed by the elections department incorrectly listed the date of the general election in Spanish as November 8. The flip side of the bookmark correctly lists the date in English as November 6. Reed tells ABC15 the bookmarks were distributed at the three election counters throughout Maricopa County and that the department has no way of knowing exactly how many people received the bookmarks."
• 13,000 La Porte County, IN Voters Wrongly Purged by GOP Officials: "Back in 2011, some 800 voters were supposed to be purged from the La Porte County voter registration system. Instead, more than 13,000 got the boot and now the voter registration office is scrambling to get them online before Nov. 6." La Porte Dems are calling for a federal investigation. Over at DailyKos, blogger Dan Briggs explains how it happened.
• Fake Voter Purge Letters Sent to Florida Voters: The phony letters have shown up in 23 counties, so far, warning voters they have 15 days to show up at the local Supervisor of Elections office and prove their citizenship, or they'll be removed from the rolls. Unlike the very real letters sent in FL Gov. Rick Scott and Sec. of State Ken Detzner's failed "non-citizen" voter purge earlier this year, these letters are forgeries meant to look real. "The letters mimic notices that local election officials did send out to voters this past spring and summer when the state began a process of trying to purge the voter rolls of noncitizens who were illegally registered to vote. The original process, which identified 2,600 voters as noncitizens, was fraught with problems and incorrectly targeted hundreds of naturalized citizens. ... [FL State Dept. Spokesman Chris] Cate said that the department was still collecting information and has notified all the election supervisors of the problem. He urged Florida voters who receive anything similar to contact election officials immediately." On Wednesday, the FBI joined in the investigation.
As we've yet to see a copy of the fake letter or email warning about it sent to FL's county Supervisors of Elections on Monday posted online, we've posted both of them here, since we received a copy from a source earlier this week.
• Touch-Screen Vote-flipping in VA: And so it begins again. Expect many more of these in the days ahead, as usual, particularly in states like VA which continue to have so little respect for voters that most are forced to cast their votes on 100% unverifiable touch-screen systems. An email sent to Fairfax County, VA Democrats on Wednesday warns: "We have received several reports of touch screen voting machines switching the names on the ballot before the vote is cast." It goes on to advise voters who experience the problem to "Stop and alert the Election Officer - don't vote on that machine; Record the number of the voting machine; Record the name and phone number of the voter affected" and then to notify the local Democratic office immediately. We'd also add you should notify the Sec. of State, the local media and call 866-OUR-VOTE if this should happen to you.
The Fairfax Dems also offer this very sage advice: "Also, we encourage voters to use paper ballots (optical scan machine) where available." But good luck finding paper ballots in VA. (If you can still vote absentee there, please do, but deliver the paper ballot in person on Election Day, if possible!)
When touch-screen machines flip votes, they should be taken out of service immediately and quarantined. Unfortunately, most election officials allow technicians to try and re-calibrate the machines while they are in "Election Mode" and most vulnerable to manipulation. It's insane. We've been saying the same thing for years now, but few election officials seem to give a damn.
• Kochs team up with religious groups to target voters: Our friend journalist Zach Roberts, part of Greg Palast's intrepid team, obtained audio recordings from a fundraiser at a Focus on the Family-related group in Alaska where the man who runs the Rightwing outfit there boasted of their new affiliation with the Koch Brothers, the million-dollar voter targeting database they'd acquired from them, and the fact that, in the wake of Citizens United, political and religious groups may now work together more seamlessly than ever. Said the Alaska Family Council and Alaska Family Action President Jim Minnery at the event: "And so, the organization Alaska Family Action has the same board; I'm still the person in charge of that organization. We literally have to switch the light switch off and on when [laughter from crowd] we have a board meeting, because we have to be a separate nonprofit corporation according to IRS regulations." Also in attendance at the event: former Alaska Lt. Gov. Loren Leman (R) and Alaskan Gov. Sean Parnell (R). Roberts also reports that "Thirty-eight states with 'family healthy councils' across the country are in the midst of forming action groups and working with the Koch brothers' Themis database to target voters." Minnery also told the crowd, when explaining how the Kochs pitched the database to him: "So, they introduced this project to us by basically saying, 'Listen, we know more about you guys than you could ever hope to know, but the good side is, we're going to be able to use this for the glory of God and to get conservatives in power'".
• Davidson County (Nashville), TN Poll Workers Being Trained to Turn Away Voters?: "'Poll workers have been trained by the election commission to judge them (voters) by how they sound and how they look to determine their citizenship,' explained Eben Cathy of the Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition. Cathy's claims are based on a Powerpoint slide shown to poll workers who were trained in Davidson County earlier this month. On the slide, one bullet point states that only US Citizens who are Tennessee residents may vote. Below that are the words 'naturalized citizenship require reading, writing, speaking basic English.'"
Davidson County is also the place where the Republican official in charge of the Board of Elections once told us to our face that "paper ballots are the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." Funny. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) keeps saying it's Global Warming. These guys should have more meetings.
• TX AG Threatens to Arrest U.N. Observers: We previously told you that U.N. monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE] were planning to observe this year's election, following a request last March by the NAACP and other groups who were (justifiably) concerned about voter suppression. Texas AG Greg Abbot has another idea: "'The OSCE representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE's representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place's entrance,' he said. 'Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE's representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.'" --- Um, "may be"? Isn't he the AG? The OSCE responded Wednesday in a letter to Sec. of State Hillary Clinton: "'The United States, like all countries in the OSCE, has an obligation to invite ODIHR observers to observe its elections,' it said. 'The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.'"
Either way, the U.S. Dept. of Justice is also planning to observe in Texas this year...Unless Abbot thinks they have no right to be there either. Why so worried about people observing at the polls? Got something you don't want them to see, cowboy?
• VA County Registrar Incredible Dishonest or Just Stupid: The Washington Post joins the ranks of us "conspiracy theorists" by reporting on concerns about Mitt Romney's business associates and major supporters and their takeover of Hart Intercivic, the nation's third largest voting machine company. But it was the last line of the piece we found the most amusing: "Falls Church [,VA] registrar David Bjerke said that he was aware of the discussion surrounding Hart but that he regarded the system as completely secure. 'There’s no way for the count to be manipulated,' he said."
What a Bjerke.
[UPDATE 10/24/12: Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will now be investigating after all, following a unanimous vote today of the State Board of Elections to refer the matter for a statewide criminal probe. Our concerns about Cuccinelli's conflicts of interest, as partially detailed below, still stand.]
Broader investigations are being sought, on a number of fronts, into the nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal including, finally, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Over the weekend, a Democratic state legislator in Virginia asked the state's Republican Attorney General to open a statewide probe, though AG Ken Cuccinelli has said he has no plans to carry one out. Given the photographs recently posted of Cuccinelli on Twitter (see below), that's probably a good thing.
On Monday, however, a number of Democratic U.S. Congress members from Virginia sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a nationwide investigation. Also, the three ranking Democrats of the U.S. House Judiciary, Elections and Oversight committees are pressing Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for answers as to why his party hired a shady GOP operative with a long history of voter registration fraud allegations against him, and whether the RNC intends to truly cut ties with him, and his many companies working for Republicans across the country.
All of this comes on the heels of the GOP Voter Registration Scandal widening to Virginia last week, when 23-year old Colin Small was arrested and charged with 8 felonies and 5 misdemeanors after being seen allegedly dumping voter registration forms into a dumpster near a shopping mall in Harrisonburg.
Small, a Pennsylvania resident who claimed on his LinkedIn profile to be a "Grassroots Field Director" for the Republican National Committee, had been hired to do voter registration work by Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed this summer at the request of the RNC and headed by Nathan Sproul, a shady GOP operative and paid political consultant for Mitt Romney's campaign.
The firm was supposedly fired by the RNC late last month after hundreds of apparently fraudulent registration forms collected by the company on behalf of the Republican Party of Florida were discovered by election officials in some twelve counties in the Sunshine State. The RNC had reportedly paid Sproul's firm at least $3 million since August to carry out voter registration efforts in five battleground states, including VA, despite many years of allegations that his companies had destroyed Democratic registration forms in a number of states.
The arrest of Small revealed that the supposed firing was a deception, as Sproul's employees and Republican voter registration machine were kept in place, but run by local GOP officials and paid by PinPoint Staffing, one of the employment agencies Sproul tells The BRAD BLOG he had used in a number of states...
A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, VA Sheriff's office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, VA.
"Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice," according to a report late Thursday afternoon from TPM's Ryan Reilly. More charges could be forthcoming, according to officials.
But there is more to the story, as evidence emerges to document that it ties in to a still-expanding nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that The BRAD BLOG first began reporting in late September, after we'd learned that the Republican Party of Florida had turned in more than 100 allegedly fraudulent and otherwise suspect voter registration forms in Palm Beach County. The story has continued to widen ever since, to a dozen Florida counties and several other states, now including Virginia, and even to the upper-echelons of the Republican Party itself.
The man arrested today was 23-year old Colin Small of Phoenixville, PA. As it turns out, he does not only work for the VA Republican Party. According to an online profile, he appears to be working for the Republican National Committee and, prior to that, served as an Intern for Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Joseph Tanfani at the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Small was "working as a supervisor as part of a registration operation in eight swing states financed by the Republican National Committee."
He was first hired, says Tanfani, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by the disgraced GOP operative and paid Mitt Romney political consultant, Nathan Sproul. Even before this year's registration fraud scandal which began with Strategic in Florida, Sproul's companies have long been accused of, though never charged with, destroying Democratic voter registrations in election after election and state after state, going back to at least 2004. Despite that, Sproul was hired by the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004, by the McCain/Palin Campaign in 2008, and by Romney during the Republican Primary cycle.
Sproul's company, Strategic Allied Consulting, was hired by the RNC in August for more than $3 million, reportedly as its sole voter registration company this cycle. His company was said to have been fired by the RNC and five different battleground state Republican parties several weeks ago, after fraudulent voter registrations began to emerge across Florida. Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that FL election officials told The BRAD BLOG they worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters' knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.
Reilly's report at TPM says that Small "worked for PinPoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia." In fact, PinPoint Staffing placed ads to hire workers for Strategic Allied Consulting in FL, VA and a number of other states, though The BRAD BLOG has learned that the company removed many of those ads once the scandal began to break in FL. They have since modified some of their newer ads to hide their ties to the Republican Party.
In response to queries we sent to Sproul late Thursday, his crisis spokesperson, David Leibowitz, attempted to distance his client from the arrest of the Republican Party worker in Virginia, claiming that "the only connection between Sproul and Pinpoint is that Nathan has, on occasion, used Pinpoint to hire some workers."
It was PinPoint Staffing, in fact, which reportedly hired the man Strategic blamed for the fraudulent registration forms turned in originally in Palm Beach. But while PinPoint continues to seek workers for GOP-related efforts around the country, and as Sproul's operations continue in "as many as 30 states", it is the Republican National Committee's response to the entire affair, including to the arrest today, that may be the most troubling...
[This article now cross-posted at Salon...]
Questions continue to grow about Nathan Sproul and his various companies' multi-million dollar work for the Republican National Committee, despite claims that they've broken ties with him on the heels of a nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal. A virtual clone of his discredited Strategic Allied Consulting firm appears to still be operating on behalf of Republicans in at least 10 states.
At the same time, Democrats in Congress are now asking for official answers from both Sproul and very senior Republicans, according to new letters obtained by The BRAD BLOG.
Sproul went on the record with us, briefly, to address some of these issues in his own defense, before he was ordered by his newly hired crisis response manager to stop speaking to us all together.
When the RNC invested $3 million to hire Strategic Allied Consulting, a company quietly created this August by Sproul, a paid political consultant to Mitt Romney, and then instructed state GOP affiliates in seven key battleground states (FL, NC, VA, NV, CO, WI and OH) to do the same, they knew very well about his companies' long documented history of alleged electoral misconduct and voter registration fraud.
The longtime GOP operative's voter registration and "Get Out the Vote" firms have been accused, during election after election, of destroying and altering Democratic voter registration forms, though no formal charges have ever been filed against him, despite repeated urging from high-ranking members of Congress and others. Sproul's long track record of improprieties was bad enough that before they would give him the contract as their national voter registration group this year, according to Sproul himself, the RNC "asked us to do it with a different company name."
Subsequently, Strategic Allied Consulting is alleged to have collected fraudulent voter registration forms. Some of those forms had the addresses of existing Democratic voters changed so that some of Florida's county election officials now worry that voters could be disenfranchised when they go to the polls this November and find they're no longer registered at their old precinct, or even in the same county. The fraudulent forms were collected by Strategic and submitted by the Florida GOP (which paid Sproul's firm some $1.3 million for voter registration work, their largest single expenditure in the 2012 cycle) in at least 12 different FL counties.
When the RNC then publicly claimed to have "fired" Sproul's new company, after the fraudulent forms came to light, it's likely that the RNC also knew full well that many of their state GOP affiliate organizations were still quietly employing Sproul's firms for partisan work in a number of other states.
RNC spokesman Sean Spicer played dumb about having asked Sproul to create the firm without his name on it --- "To my knowledge, no one requested that" --- though Sproul told The BRAD BLOG during an on the record conversation, eventually aborted by his recently hired crisis manager David Liebowitz, that he stands by his assertion.
"I'm not going to comment on this further," Sproul told us when we'd asked for specifics, since the RNC appeared to be calling him a liar, "but I'm not retracting my prior comments either."
Perhaps even more disturbing is the evidence suggesting that his companies are still operating in states around the country under different names. That, despite the RNC's claims to have "severed our relationship" with Sproul, and the assertion that they "acted swiftly and boldly" to cut ties with the group only after the allegedly fraudulent registration forms came to light in Florida (and as Democratic registration forms were also alleged to have been destroyed by Strategic workers in other states, such as Colorado and Nevada.)
When we asked Sproul directly: "Do your other companies still work for the RNC or other state or local parties?", his response came back as a blunt, "No."
In a response to a follow-up query, when we asked Sproul to explain evidence suggesting that his companies were, in fact, still operating elsewhere on behalf of Republicans, he walked back his original denial a bit.
"I know you have additional questions, including many about SAC [Strategic Allied Consulting] and its affiliates and work we've done in other places and for other clients," Sproul said. "Those questions fall either outside the bounds of what I can discuss or outside the bounds of where I'm comfortable going in this story. I hope you'll understand."
And yet, as still more evidence is emerging to show that Sproul may have been less than forthcoming in some of his responses to The BRAD BLOG (he has refused to respond to additional, specific follow-up queries on this emerging evidence, after Liebowitz was brought on board as his crisis spokesperson), Congressional Democrats have similar questions about Sproul's work with the GOP and if it may be continuing even now.
Senior Democratic members of the U.S. House Elections, Judiciary and Oversight Committees seeking answers --- from Sproul, RNC Chair Reince Priebus, as well as GOP heavies Karl Rove and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie (now a senior adviser to Romney) who founded one of the top Republican Super PACs and paid Sproul some $750,000 for unspecified work --- about what Sproul's operations may still be up to, despite the RNC's recent public, if unsupported, claim of a "zero tolerance" policy for election fraud and those who practice it...
We recently offered a very few, long overdue words about Colorado's embarrassingly bad, incredibly partisan, anti-democratic and anti-Democratic, wingnut Secretary of State Scott Gessler (R), when, as the state's chief election official, he made a fool of himself with an attempted-then-aborted purge of "non-citizen" voters who, to Gessler's inconvenience, turned out to not be "non-citizens".
It's not altogether surprising. The state is developing a rich history of cringe-inducing Secretaries of State.
The previous wingnut to hold the job, who is now, even more embarrassingly, U.S. House Rep. Mike Coffman (R), recently revealed his own confusion about which Americans are citizens and which are not, when he told the crowd at a fundraiser last May: "I don't know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don't know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he's not an American. He's just not an American."
Moving beyond the two most recent CO Secretaries of State's embarrassing paranoia of alien invasion, Gessler isn't done shaming the great state of Colorado with conspiracy theories, not by a long shot, as displayed at a wingnut "voter fraud" conference late last week in Denver. That, even as he has, publicly at least, completely ignored what now appears to be an actual criminal conspiracy, with actual evidence, concerning actual voter registration fraud (albeit by a Republican outfit, so perhaps it doesn't count), acknowledged by his own office to be officially under criminal investigation by prosecutors in his state...
An official criminal probe has been launched into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal we first reported just over one week ago. The investigation, confirmed by Reuters tonight, comes on the heels of an election fraud complaint filed on Friday by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) after an initial batch of more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration applications were discovered in Palm Beach County. The forms had been submitted to the county by the RPOF after being collected by employees of Strategic Allied Consulting, a group hired by the party and headed by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and controversial longtime GOP operative Nathan Sproul.
The announcement of a criminal investigation comes on the day after state officials sent an email, obtained by The BRAD BLOG, informing county election officials to sequester hundreds of potentially fraudulent registration forms which may be needed as "evidence" in court proceedings.
Tonight, Reuters is reporting that officials from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirm that they have "found enough evidence to warrant a full-blown investigation" of Strategic Allied Consulting.
Since the emergence of the initial batch of irregular GOP voter registrations early last week, similarly fraudulent forms have reportedly discovered in some 12 Florida counties. During our exclusive interview with Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher last Wednesday, she told us some of the forms her office first discovered included suspicious address changes, "sometimes to commercial buildings or addresses", which could result in voters becoming disenfranchised when they go to the polls on November 6th.
The confirmation of a criminal investigation buttresses information we mentioned yesterday during our appearance on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV program, about an email sent by Florida's Dept. of State to all county election officials on Tuesday. (The email is posted in full below.) The missive advises county Supervisors of Elections to sequester all questionable voter registration applications they have discovered since the scandal emerged, as they "may become evidence used in court, so it is important for you to take steps to protect them from tampering"...
I had a lot to pack in to about 4 minutes on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show last night, but I did my best, including a tasty new morsel on Florida's criminal investigation into the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that I was able to obtain just before air, and which I haven't yet broken elsewhere...
As referenced in the video above:
By the way, while I try to include the following tag below when posting our Election Integrity stories, I usually get few takers. Your support this time of year is crucial, as I simply don't have much time for fund raising at all, or even for selling stories elsewhere (which sometimes helps to cover some of the expenses we have here). I'd rather be reporting, than fund raising, especially now. So anything you can do to hit the tip jar below is greatly appreciated! I do hate asking, but I have to. So my great thanks in advance!
From Palm Beach to Richmond, from Las Vegas to Portland, it's not a coincidence, it's a coordinated GOP scheme intended to keep Obama supporters from signing up to vote.
While a major element of the Republican National Committee's strategy to game the 2012 elections by affecting who gets to vote and who does not has been cut off at the knees in the wake of a criminal election fraud complaint and other late developments in the still-widening GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, a disturbing and abhorrent nationwide GOP voter registration strategy may have also been revealed by it.
The coordinated strategy, as evidenced by recent video documentation emerging from a number of key states, includes registration workers screening out Democratic-leaning voters from registration drives in order to keep them from registering. The way it's done: lying to potential registrants about a "voter survey," rather than disclosing that workers are actually there to register voters --- but only Republican-leaning ones. The deceptive tactic has so far been seen this year in several of the five battleground states where the RNC's controversial, and potentially criminal, $3 million registration program was scuttled late last week after fraudulent registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by a shady firm hired by the RNC to sign up Republican voters in Florida and four other states.
The BRAD BLOG has also collected evidence suggesting that the dishonest registration tactic also appears to be in use in states where the RNC's firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is not said to be operating, suggesting that the practice is not just one used by the discredited firm, but, rather, a nationwide voter scheme by the GOP.
Questions about the legality of the tactic are emerging as well, though the deplorable ethics of the practice, legal or otherwise, would seem to be beyond dispute.
Election officials in the five states where Strategic was paid some $3 million by the RNC to do voter registration, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada, are now said to be in the process of scrambling to review tens of thousands of new and updated voter registration forms submitted by state Republican Parties, as collected by the firm owned by Nathan Sproul, a long-time, notorious GOP operative and paid political consultant of Mitt Romney's campaign. But the disturbing, and seemingly coordinated, tactic of registration workers instructed to misrepresent themselves in order to screen out potential Democratic voters is coming to light as a separate element of the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal.
To date, The BRAD BLOG has documented instances of the phony "polling" tactic being used by Republican voter registration workers in Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Oregon, and, in years past, Tennessee and Minnesota. Our suspicion at the moment: What we have been able to discover to date is just the tip of the iceberg...
In a scathing letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL19) is demanding the Governor "immediately appoint a bipartisan task force" to investigate and take action on the "the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida."
"Given the explicitly partisan nature of this scandal, assurances must be provided to all Floridians that the investigation into these allegations is thorough and fair," Deutch writes in his letter (posted in full below), before criticizing Scott for his silence, to date, on the matter.
"So far, your inaction in the face of this scandal suggests that you are putting partisanship ahead of the integrity of Florida’s elections," charges the Congressman.
"Allegations surrounding Strategic Allied Consulting alarmingly suggest that Democratic forms were destroyed by its workers and only Republican forms were submitted. Further allegations exist that workers were illegally given quotas of new voters to register, that many forms had similar handwriting with incorrect information, and that even deceased individuals were registered."
"Even more disturbing is the possibility that the fraud discovered in Florida really just scratches the surface of a national strategy executed by Strategic Allied Consulting at the direction of the Republican National Committee and Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."
Deutch slams Scott in the missive for his "shocking and hypocritical" lack of action since the GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal first surfaced early last week, when we first reported on more than 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms submitted in Palm Beach County, FL, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by longtime controversial GOP operative Nathan Sproul. The firm accounted for the Republican Party of Florida's top expenditure so far this year. The FL GOP paid the firm some $1.3 million for voter registration across the state over the past two months.
The FL GOP says they hired the firm --- headed up by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant, whose companies have a long history of allegations against them for destroying Democratic voter registrations in multiple states --- at the request of the Republican National Committee. Like the FL GOP, the RNC, which paid the firm $3 million for voter registration in five key battleground states since July, fired Strategic late last week.
Since then, apparently fraudulent registration forms, many with addresses changed so that voters could be disenfranchised come November 6th, have been discovered in at least 11 FL counties, along with charges of destroyed Democratic registration forms surfacing in Colorado and Nevada. The company was employed in those states as well as North Carolina and Virginia to carry out voter registration. Sproul has said the RNC asked him to create the new company to hide his ownership of it.
Deutch pulls no punches in his criticism of the Florida Governor, who has otherwise pretended to be concerned about voter registration fraud in the Sunshine State, in his letter today:
Deutch goes on to list five actions the Congressman says are needed "immediately" to help contain the scandal, restore confidence in the state's electoral process, and help to "prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign."
(One gentle note to the good Congressman, since we'd hate to incur his wrath and receive a similarly scathing letter: The concern in the state of Florida right now, and in the other states where the RNC's company was operating, is voter registration fraud, not "voter fraud." There is no evidence of fraud by any voters at this time. They are doing fine and have borne the brunt of more than enough inappropriate accusations already this year. Please leave them alone. Thank you.)
The complete text of Congressman Ted Deutch's 10/1/12 letter to Gov. Rick Scott, follows in full below...
A major element of the Republican National Committee's overall attempt to game the 2012 elections by trying to affect who gets to vote and who does not, has just been stopped dead in its tracks.
Along with it, a criminal election fraud complaint has now reportedly been filed with law enforcement in the state of Florida against a Republican firm, owned by a paid Mitt Romney consultant, which was hired by the GOP to carry out partisan voter registration operations in at least five battleground states.
Millions of dollars were spent on the aborted effort by the GOP over the last two months --- their largest single expenditure in several of the states where the scheme was in full tilt --- to seek out Romney supporters only, and sign them up to vote.
The strategy resulted in (or included) fraudulent registration forms collected by the firm and then submitted in Florida by the state GOP with voter addresses, signatures and party affiliations changed. Election officials in the state have told The BRAD BLOG that they fear the scheme could result in the disenfranchisement of a still-unknown number of otherwise legal voters, and they are taking extraordinary measures to try and contain the potential damage as they attempt to work through more than 45,000 new and updated registrations submitted by the GOP and verify their legitimacy.
The fraudulent voter registration forms have so far been discovered in "at least 11" FL counties at this hour, all submitted by the state Republican Party and collected by the RNC's top voter registration firm, a shell company formed in June called Strategic Allied Consulting, as owned by a notorious GOP operative named Nathan Sproul.
On Thursday night, the RNC finally fired the firm which they'd paid more than $3 million dollars over the past two months alone, for voter registration work in at least five key battleground states, and "Get Out the Vote" efforts in at least two more.
But, despite the efforts by the RNC and Strategic Allied Consulting, run secretly by Romney's paid political consultant, the 2012 GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, which The BRAD BLOG initially reported late last Tuesday night as it began to break, is not over yet. Not by a long shot...
Last night, as news was just breaking that the Republican National Committee was firing their national voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting (owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant, and longtime GOP operative, Nathan Sproul), to whom they had paid at least $3 million over the last two months, I appeared on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture TV show.
The original appearance was set to discuss the FL GOP firing the firm on Tuesday after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration applications --- with addresses and party affiliations changed, as well as other defects --- were discovered in Palm Beach County, FL. But by air time, the NC GOP had also fired the group, and then the RNC jumped in to do same late yesterday after their firm was reportedly discovered to have been registering dead people as new voters in another FL county.
If you've had trouble keeping up with this fast moving story, this 5-minute clip of my appearance on Hartmann's TV show last night should bring you generally up to speed with what's going on...
Since that appearance, FL officials are now confirming "suspicious and possibly fraudulent voter registration forms" in "at least ten counties" in the state, which shatters the "one bad apple", "just one individual in Palm Beach" talking point which the AP had been helping both the RNC and Sproul's shell company, Strategic Allied Consulting, pass on to the public late last night.
There will be more on this, as the story continues to be both developing and fast moving. I'm working on pulling together several threads all at once over here, as there is evidence that this scandal is larger than just the five key battleground states (FL, NC, VA, NV, CO) acknowledged by the RNC, so far, where Sproul's firm was working. So your patience is appreciated as I work to make sense of what's really going on here.
One last note for now: Please notice that neither Brietbart's website, nor Fox "News", both of whom had pretended to be so concerned about "voter fraud" by ACORN in previous years (when they committed no such thing), has yet to say word one about any of this, as Eric Boehlert notes at Media Matters. And at Salon, Alex Seitz-Wald reports that "a search on Strategic Allied Consulting or Nathan Sproul turns up zero results on the Weekly Standard, the National Review, RedState, the Breitbart sites, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air and other" Rightwing sites that went wall-to-wall about ACORN in the past. That, even though, in this case, unlike with the ACORN nonsense, there is actual evidence of real voter registration fraud by the RNC (ACORN was never backed by the DNC) which could, as the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher pointed out to me during my Wednesday interview with her on this, end up disenfranchising an unknown number of otherwise legal voters in Florida, as well as other states where this crew has been at work.
[See BREAKING UPDATE at bottom of story. NBC News now reports the RNC has also cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting.]
The North Carolina Republican Party has fired the shady voter registration firm owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant and longtime GOP operative, Nathan Sproul. The firing came as Democrats in the state were on the brink of denouncing the Republicans' tie to the operative's firm.
The state GOP joins the Republican Party of Florida, which also fired Sproul's company (who accounted for the party's largest 2012 expenditure, some $1.3 million over the last two months) after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were turned over to the FL State Attorney in Palm Beach County on Monday for investigation. The BRAD BLOG first reported the emerging story in detail on Tuesday.
The firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, is the latest creation of Sproul, a longtime, high-level GOP operative whose companies --- including Sproul & Associates and Lincoln Strategy Group --- have been accused of destroying Democratic voter registration forms and changing information on them in election after election, in state after state, year after year. He was hired for similar operations by Bush/Cheney in '04, by McCain/Palin in '08 and by Mitt Romney's campaign late last year.
When the FL GOP fired Strategic Allied on Tuesday night, they noted that the firm had been hired "at the request of" the Republican National Committee. On Wednesday, during our exclusive interview with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher, she described some of the "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing" on registration applications collected by Sproul's firm and turned in to her office. Among the "disturbing" defects on the forms, addresses of existing registered voters changed "to commercial buildings or addresses" and, "in some places, they were changing political parties."
Bucher stressed her concern that voters were likely to be disenfranchised by the effort when showing up at the polls on Election Day, only to find their address has been changed, removed or moved to another precinct entirely.
The firm is still said to be operating in key battleground states like Virginia, Nevada and Colorado, where a young lady who may have been working for the contractor was caught on a disturbing viral video tape published over the weekend. The young lady, who was hired by "a third-party contractor" retained by the Colorado State Republican Party, as their Communications Director confirmed to The BRAD BLOG on Wednesday, is seen on the tape asking a potential registrant whether she would vote for Obama or Romney before she would allow her to fill out a voter registration form.
When Gregg Flynn of BlueNC reported on Sproul's Strategic Allied Consulting in his state late last month, he reported the NC GOP had paid some $333,000 to the firm in July alone. He also discovered the company had taken steps to hide its ownership by Sproul's firm, Sproul & Associates, shortly after first publication of his initial exposé...
Given the rampage that state officials in Florida have been on over the past year to purge voter rolls of illegal, supposedly "non-citizen" voter registrations in the state, and the draconian restrictions they've attempted to place on third-party voter registration workers and organizations, in a supposed attempt to curb voter registration fraud, you'd think they'd be all over this week's revelations of at least 100 apparently fraudulent registration forms turned in by a third-party voter registration organization in Palm Beach County.
If you think that, however, you'd be wrong. At least that's the indication that Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher gave me on Wednesday when I interviewed her on KPFK/Pacifica Radio's BradCast concerning the fraudulent registration applications turned in to her office by a firm hired by the Florida state GOP at the request of the Republican National Committee. [My full interview is posted at the end of this article.]
"I haven't heard from anybody --- the Assistant Secretary [of State] or the Secretary [of State] --- and, ya know, we've had a couple of days and I know they have other things on their plate, but I would think this would be a front-burner issue as well," she told me.
Bucher had informed the office of Ken Detzner, Republican Gov. Rick Scott's hand-picked Secretary of State, about the fraudulent registration forms --- featuring "similarities in the signatures and certain characteristics in the applications that were very disturbing," as she described them to me --- on Monday morning "in an effort to inform them prior to my meeting with the State Attorney."
"I called on Monday morning and left both my office and my cell phone and I've yet to hear from that office," she said during our Wednesday, 6pm ET interview a full three days later.
She explained that there is no longer anyone heading up the State Division of Elections. "We're not real clear [why], but they're not there anymore," she said. "They left right before the Primary election and that position has remained open. But the contact person that we were supposed to have is the Assistant Secretary [of State]. I left him a message on Monday morning and the phone call was never returned. I haven't heard from them yet."
Bucher noted, however, that the state has just given her office 14 more names of "suspected non-citizen" voters that she is supposed to contact with a letter telling them that they must prove their citizenship within 30 days or be removed from the rolls 30 days later.
As The BRAD BLOG covered in great detail earlier this year, Scott and Detzner's initial purported attempt to purge the rolls of thousands of "suspected non-citizens" resulted in no more than 9 who we were able to verify, out of some 11.4 million registered voters in the Sunshine State. None of those 9, we also discovered during our investigation, had actually ever cast a ballot.
"It does not appear that we're going to be able to get to this [new] list and do anything with these voters until after the November 6th election based on the days that we have left," she explained. And yet, the state Republican officials seemed to show little concern about more than 100 cases of demonstrably fraudulent registration forms turned into her office.
Perhaps that's because they were turned in by Strategic Allied Consulting, the shady firm hired by the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), operating in a number of key battleground states, and owned by Mitt Romney's paid political consultant Nathan Sproul, a man with a long history of allegedly destroying and defrauding Democratic registration forms in election after election, in state after state, year after year, as we explained in our detailed Tuesday morning report describing the latest FL GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal as it first broke...
[This article now cross-posted at Salon...]
The Republican Party of Florida's top recipient of 2012 expenditures, a firm by the name of Strategic Allied Consulting, was just fired on Tuesday night, after more than 100 apparently fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in by the group to the Palm Beach County, FL Supervisor of Elections.
The firm appears to be another shell company of Nathan Sproul, a longtime, notorious Republican operative, hired year after year by GOP Presidential campaigns, despite being accused of shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states over several past elections.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Strategic Allied Consulting has been paid some $667,000 this year by the FL GOP, presumably to run its voter registration campaigns in the state. That number, however, does not account for another identical payment made in August. The Palm Beach Post is reporting tonight that the firm received "more than $1.3 million" from the Republican Party of Florida "to register new voters."
The firm is not only tied to the FL GOP, but also to the Mitt Romney Campaign, which hired Sproul as a political consultant late last year, despite years of fraud allegations against his organizations in multiple states.
Moreover, the firm is also reportedly operating similar voter registration operations on behalf of the Republican Party, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, in a number of key battleground states this year, including North Carolina, Virginia and Colorado. Strategic Allied has recently taken steps to hide their ownership by Sproul's notorious firm, Sproul & Associates.
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Susan Bucher confirmed to The BRAD BLOG late this evening that she turned over 106 suspicious voter registration applications to the Florida State Attorney during a meeting yesterday afternoon in Palm Beach, after the "questionable" applications were submitted to her office by a worker for Strategic Allied.
The forms were said to all have similar signatures, changed addresses and party affiliations, and other defects which appear to have all been done by the same hand.
The case emerging in Florida tonight mirrors a similar incident reported earlier this year when more than a thousand fraudulent voter registration forms were discovered to have been turned in to the Sacramento County, CA Registrar of Voters by a group hired by that state's Republican Party.
But that's not the only similar case, as a massive GOP voter registration scheme, which appears to involve the upper-echelons of the national party, begins to emerge...
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