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GOP Caught in Massive Voter Registration Fraud Scheme

The Republican party has been caught red-handed paying millions of dollars to a company owned by a longtime GOP operative with a track record of committing voter registration fraud. Remember the girl caught on video saying she was registering voters, but only Republicans? Turns out she worked for that company, Strategic Allied Consulting, which has been paid more than $3 million by the Republican party in at least 7 states. Sproul’s history is not a good one.

Now there are a couple of different things going on here. One is exactly what ACORN was accused of, turning in falsified voter registration applications. This is something that no company wants to have happen; after all, they’re paying people to go out and canvas and register voters. Some of those people are inevitably going to take the easy way out and just fill out a bunch of forms with information out of the phone book or with fake names they made up in order to pretend that they earned their pay when they didn’t.

It would be hard to blame Sproul or the GOP for that, except that there appears to be one difference — no one was apparently checking the forms. ACORN knew that problem was inevitable, so they had a quality control system in place where supervisors went over each application turned in by canvassers. If they saw similar names and addresses, or similar handwriting on a bunch of different applications, they separated those out from the ones that appeared to be valid and turned them in (they are required by law to turn over every application, even if they think it’s bad) with a note indicating the name of the canvasser. If there was actual fraud going on, the canvasser who did it could then be prosecuted (and many of them were). But there is nothing to indicate that Sproul’s company was doing that. If they didn’t do that, they’re showing enormous incompetence (again, not malice, since they don’t stand to gain anything by turning in bad voter registrations).

The other obvious difference is that the DNC did not hire ACORN to do anything, while the RNC has paid millions to Sproul. And the Romney campaign has also hired another Sproul front company as a consultant to its own campaign.

But the second thing that is going on here is what appears in that now-famous video of the canvasser saying they were only registering Republicans to vote. And that’s something Sproul’s companies have apparently done in the past as well — and the GOP knew that and still hired him anyway. Former employees have said that they were told to ask someone what party they belonged to and then discard the applications filled out by Democrats. And the ads they took out in many other states shows that this is exactly their intent:

Late last month, Greg Flynn at the North Carolina blog BlueNC reported on some of their job listings seeking workers in that swing-state, which Obama narrowly won in 2008, offering to pay anywhere from $11 to $13 per hour.

“WANT TO HELP REPUBLICANS WIN IN NC?,” reads one ad, “We are currently hiring self-motivated people to contact voters for the election. No experience needed! We are paying $13/per hour for this program.”

“Are you interested in helping Mitt Romney win North Carolina?,” reads another, “I am with the North Carolina Republican Party working with Voter Registration Projects and am looking for team members to help expand Republican voter registration.”

“Republican Voter Registration Captains Needed,” begins another, requesting applicants submit resumes to John Bria of Strategic Allied Consulting. “Help GOP candidates win in November and become an integral part a [sic] presidential campaign.”

“Employees will go to high traffic areas, identify conservative voters, ensure that their voter registration is up to date, and then report back at night with their data and the voter registration forms that they collected.”

This is why voter registration should not be done by the parties. It should be done only by non-partisan organizations and it should be illegal to ask someone their party identification or who they plan to vote for when registering them to vote. Because companies like this have also been accused of changing voter registrations from Democrat to Republican in states that have closed primaries. Here’s Brad Friedman on the Thom Hartman show talking about it:

Here’s another difference. Friedman notes:

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.

And this is interesting as well. It looks like the RNC tried to cover its ties to Sproul by having him create a new company with a new name:

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.

According to Sproul himself, the RNC knew exactly what they were doing and were trying to cover their tracks. So here we have a company doing exactly what ACORN was accused of doing, but apparently showing no concern about identifying the fraudulent applications; explicitly trying to register only Republican voters; being paid millions by the RNC and the Romney campaignl; and being told to change their name to avoid detection. And not a peep from the folks who threw a tantrum over ACORN in 2008. What a coinkydink.

Comments

  1. dingojack says

    This is from an Onion article, right?
    No?
    Bwhahahahahahahahaha!

    My prediction? Disappeared down the media’s memory hole, no prosecutions, not even a harsh word.

    Dingo

  2. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    One more little bit of information on this–RNC voter registration efforts in those 5 swing states with “Strategic Allied Consulting” is now completely shut down. The RNC apparently had NO “Plan B” in place–at least according to Rachel Maddow last night.

    Smart. So very smart.

  3. says

    ACORN knew that problem was inevitable…

    Exactly. That’s why the reaction is so different. ACORN knew that ACORN would cheat, and put in place “quality” “controls” to ensure that ACORN still passed the fraudulent forms on. Strategic Allied Consulting, by contrast, is a babe in the woods, bright eyed and bushy tailed, so stunned and shocked by the Democrat party voter malfeasance that they accidentally “threw away” their so-called “registrations”.
    Meanwhile, the Liberal Media, which completely ignored ACORN and its nefarious schemes, will no doubt clamp on to and push this story as though it’s true.

  4. brucegee1962 says

    The most serious problem by far here sounds like the accusation that Democratic forms were thrown away. If true, that is a big-time felony, for both whoever did it and whoever knew it was going on, as far up the chain as the knowledge extended.

    Those voter registration laws don’t mess around — I remember last election there was a teacher who registered her students, and was about to be prosecuted just because she didn’t send them in within the time limit.

  5. baal says

    IOKIYAR

    Laws are there to keep order*.

    *order (Lexicon (R)) – keeping minorities (and poor folks) so busy trying to live that they can’t take part in society**

    **society (lexicon (R)) – amassing wealth, making rules for other people to follow.

    Irony meters are a thing of the past. Intentional hypocrisy (rovian) and unintentional (willfully unknowing?) hypocrisy (fisherian) have combined nuclear level forces to break all of them in existence and in all likely future existences.

  6. says

    Since they are always going on about voter fraud.
    Why does this make me think of the schoolboy response to someone noticing a fart: “Who smelt it dealt it”.

  7. Abby Normal says

    Now it all makes sense. I’d been wondering why the GOP was so worked up about voter fraud when there was no evidence it was actually occurring. Turns out they had inside information.

  8. yoav says

    Look like we finally got the evidence of widespread voter fraud the republicans were promising for months.

  9. cry4turtles says

    How ’bout some good news? The PA supreme court sent the voter id law back to the Republican judge that upheald it and said, “Take another look at this.” He did, and at least for this election, around 700,000+ voters WILL NOT BE DISENFRANCHISED. WooHoo! PA finally got something right.

  10. says

    You guys forgot; ACORN was successfully registering brown skinned people to vote, which republicans want to curtail. As long as this org is getting dumb conservative whites to vote, Fox and the rest of the right wing media will overlook everything illegal that happened.

  11. Chiroptera says

    Huh. So the Republicans are right after all: there is election fraud!

    In hind sight, I guess we should have realized that the Republicans would have know that there was election fraud — seeing how they are the ones engaging in it.

  12. raven says

    Is this legal or not?

    I don’t know the laws here although they probably vary from state to state.

    When I registered to vote, there was someone hanging around the library steps with a clipboard. I filled out a form and that was that. Card came in the mail. No one checked my ID or anything.

  13. dingojack says

    cry4turtles –
    ‘The Republicans:
    > can’t run a competent campaign,
    > can’t organise to register voters,
    > can’t even manage to disenfranchise their opponent’s voters *.
    Do you think they’ll be able to run the world’s largest and most complicated economy?
    Vote Barak Obama, you may not like him – but at least he’s competent.’

    OK it’ll never make a bumper sticker….

    :)Dingo
    —–
    * Apparently the Republicans think it’s so easy even the Democrats can do it

  14. says

    Let’s keep two things in mind:

    1. This is not voter fraud. It’s voter registration fraud. No one is going to show up and vote that isn’t legally allowed to do so.

    2. The real problem is not the bad voter registration forms; that is inevitable in any voter registration drive, no matter who is in charge. The serious allegations are the ones about refusing to register Democrats, changing the party designation and throwing our or shredding applications from Democrats. Those things are serious violations.

  15. velociraptor says

    Rule #1: The more people that vote, the worse the GOP does.

    Rule #2: If you ever want to know what the Republicans are up to, listen to what they are screaming that the Democrats are doing.

  16. abb3w says

    I’ll note, there’s an easy work around for a legal ban to ask someone their party identification or who they plan to vote for when registering them to vote. The solution is to first send around door-to-door “pollsters”, who ask people their name, age, stance on this that and the other, which candidate would they prefer in the election… and at the end, ask “are you a registered voter?” Then, the responses tallied… and all the addresses with a democratic-leaning unregistered but eligible voter get a second visit, from a helpful person with voter registration forms, who does NOT ask anything about political views or party affiliation, but merely “is there anyone at this address who would like to register to vote?”

    This may (from anecdotal report) be the current approach used by Democrats in some states which already have such a ban.

    I’m also not convinced that registration should be limited to “non-partisan” organizations. As long as partisans do assist anyone who indicates a desire to register, I don’t see an inherent problem. Also, partisans tend to have more direct motive to get some of the people registered, with all of the people having some partisan desiring their registration.

    Rather than an outright ban, I’d prefer partisan organizations face penalties for refusing to register someone or for failing to turn in a (partially) completed registration form, both for individuals and organizations making use of them.

  17. cry4turtles says

    Dingo, I do genuinely like Barack Obama. I get the feeling he wants to go down in history as a president who tried to do the right things. I donate to his campaign every other week. The first time I’ve ever donated to any campaign. He’s got my vote!

  18. D. C. Sessions says

    The serious allegations are the ones about refusing to register Democrats, changing the party designation and throwing our or shredding applications from Democrats.

    Especially the “throwing out or shredding” part. The reason, of course, is that they registrants think that they’re registered, and thus won’t register again — and then find out that they can’t vote when it’s too late.

    Think of it as another form of vote suppression.

  19. Hugo says

    As someone who was born and raised in Mexico (though I am now a US citizen), I am completely confused by the American electoral process. I have never voted anywhere, and frankly, the entire process seems so shady to me that I haven’t even bothered to register.

    Pardon my ignorance on the matter, but are you saying that when someone wants to register to vote, you have to register with a specific party? Can one register as an independent? In Mexico, a person has to register with an independent public organization to receive a voting credential. Growing up there, I was always told that our vote was supposed to be free and secret. No official is ever supposed to ask you who you are voting for or what political party you lean towards when registering or voting. What possible reason can there be to allow political parties to register voters? You allow a political party to hire a company who sends a random person to register random people on the street, and you expect there to be no fraud? Would you allow the same process for driver licenses OR IDs or passports or Social Security cards?! it’s crazy!

    I have always heard of voting fraud, but voting REGISTRATION fraud is a concept that I still have trouble wrapping my head around.

    Oh, and can someone explain to me this whole thing about electoral votes?

  20. D. C. Sessions says

    Hugo:

    1) You do not have to declare a party affiliation when you register. A large and increasing number of voters don’t — this usually shows as “independent.”

    2) The Electoral College is one of the kludges that got into the Constitution as a compromise between 18th Century power blocs to get the thing passed at all. You hear a lot about “States’ Rights” in this country, which is something we should have gotten over 150 years ago, but there you are.

    The WikiPedia entry is pretty good, by the way.

    Here’s how it works: the House of Representatives has representatives from each State, in approximate proportion to their populations. California has the most, a few small States like Montana only have one (because a State has to have at least one.) The Senate has two Senators for each State, no matter how large or small, so California and Montana each have two.

    In total, there are 435 Representatives in the House and 100 Senators. The States get one vote in the Electoral College for each Representative and one for each Senator. The Federal District doesn’t have either Representatives or Senators, but in order to not totally freeze them out of the government that has direct power over them (since they are directly ruled by Congress rather than have the usual Governors, State legislature, etc.) they get three votes in the EC.

    In the Presidential election, people vote in their States and the winner in each State gets that State’s Electoral College votes. Most States operate on a winner-take-all approach, but some distribute their votes more or less proportionately. A third option (currently not in use) is for States to compact with each other to assign their EC votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

    In theory, the EC is a deliberative body but in practice it’s just a (very strange) counting scheme. With 538 total votes, it takes 270 to win the election. And that’s the number everyone is counting now.

    Because the popular vote doesn’t count, States that are more or less certain to go one way or another aren’t really interesting in Presidential elections. For all that we have 50 States and over 300 million citizens, it always comes down to less than a dozen so-called “battleground States” that are close enough that they could go either way. The candidates put nearly all of their efforts into tipping the results in those handful of States.

    I feel like I should apologize for the above, but hope it helps. Some.

  21. says

    velociraptor “Rule #1: The more people that vote, the worse the GOP does.”
    “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of the people. They never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.” ~ Paul Weyrich

    Hugo “Oh, and can someone explain to me this whole thing about electoral votes?”
    They don’t vote for president. They vote for who their state votes for president, weighted by population, mostly. And some states can split their votes. Electoral college (USA).

  22. Chiroptera says

    D. C. Sessions, #22: In theory, the EC is a deliberative body but in practice it’s just a (very strange) counting scheme.

    Actually, the electors all meet to cast their votes in their respective state capitols, so in theory the EC is 51 deliberative bodies.

    Sorry for the pedantry. Carry on.

  23. dingojack says

    cry4turtles – the ‘you’ I was addressing were moderate Republican and/or non-committed voters. I suppose I could have said ‘one’, but seems a little pompous (and impersonal) in the circumstances, don’t you (specifically) think?
    :) Dingo
    —–
    PS: Oh for ‘tu et vos’ or ‘thee and thou’, English is a funny old language.

  24. mithandir says

    Can somebody please explain to this foreigner *why* there’s a requirement to register to vote in the first place?
    Over here, everybody eglible to vote simply gets a voting form mailed to them at their place of residence.

    Mind you, voting is compulsory here.

  25. says

    I might be wrong about this (I’m Canadian) but I’m getting the impression that you need to have a registered voter card to cast a vote in the election, and that this card is separate from your ID? Am I correct on this?

    In Canada everyone has an assigned voting station (its autromatically generated off whatever address you list as your primary address on your last tax return) although you can change it by filling out a form (useful for students who list their residence as their parents home but actually live in dorms or etc in whatever city their school’s in).

    On election day you show up with ANY piece of gov’t photo ID (driver’s license, passport, health care card etc) and… you vote.

  26. matty1 says

    It does sound a very strange system from a non-American perspective. In the UK voter registration is handled by local government and is almost automatic, you get a letter once a year asking you to confirm if there has been any change in who at your address is eligible to vote then you ring up and either confirm or make the changes. Then when there is an election you get another letter telling you where the polling station is.

    You can simply not register of course but given organisations like banks use the register of voters to confirm identities this will affect more than your ability to vote.

    I think I’m already on record as thinking the US system of being a registered X confuses party membership (a matter between you and the party that decides who can influence the selection of candidates, which is none of the governments business) and voter registration (confirming who can choose between candidates at a public election, which is none of the parties business).

    Then again I am known for my ignorance so this may just be wrong and government is not tracking party membership or helping run internal party votes.

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