UPDATE: FOX 31′s Eli Stokols connects the dots:
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.
NBC News reports:
Election officials in six Florida counties are investigating what appears to be “hundreds” of cases of suspected voter fraud by a GOP consulting firm that has been paid nearly $3 million by the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five key battleground states, state officials tell NBC.
But the veteran GOP consultant, Nathan Sproul, who runs the firm, strongly defended his company’s conduct, saying it has rigorous “quality controls” and blamed the alleged fraud on the actions of a few “bad apples,” workers who were hired to register Republican voters for $12 an hour and then tried to “cheat the system.”
The suspected fraud included apparent cases of dead people being registered as Republican voters, said Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County and a Republican. He compared the suspected fraud to the alleged acts of ACORN, the liberal activist group that became the center of a national controversy several years ago.
The company in question, Strategic Allied Consulting headed by longtime political operative Nathan Sproul, had a contract this year via the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five states–including Colorado. According to NBC News, in most states including Colorado, Sproul’s contract was paid directly by the state party. Allison Sherry of the Denver paper writes today that Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call has also fired Sproul.
But there’s more to this story. Some of you might remember a scandal that broke in 2004 over the alleged trashing of Democratic ballots by a Republican-funded voter registration outreach company with contracts in Colorado. That company’s name was Sproul & Associates.
Salon, October 2004:
During the past week and a half, several former employees, elections officials and others across the country who’ve had dealings with [Sproul & Associates] have revealed to various local media outlets Sproul’s methods for boosting GOP registration in key swing states. The accounts allege that Sproul’s workers were encouraged to lie, cheat and, according to Eric Russell, a former Sproul employee in Las Vegas who first told his story to a local television station last week, even destroy the registration forms of Democrats who’d registered to vote with Sproul canvassers. Sproul has denied those charges, variously challenging the veracity of its former employees; but taken together, the stories are compelling, and they may provide an early glimpse into the kinds of shady tactics Republicans are using to win at the polls this year…
Back to the present day, the liberal BRAD BLOG closes the circle:
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…
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, [Pols emphasis] 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.
To summarize, there are two problems here. Voter registration fraud of this kind, fraudulent registration of fictitious or dead individuals, is often perpetrated by low-level employees who are paid by the registration–not a situation where these fraudulently registered voters are actually likely to vote. It’s more a headache for the clerks than a threat to free and fair elections, not to mention the organization doing the registration drive gets scammed and takes the blame.
Needless to say, though, if Democrats had been anywhere near this situation, Republican Secretaries of State like our own Scott Gessler would be screaming bloody murder like they did with ACORN’s very similar voter registration problems. So that’s a fair point to make.
Much more important in the long run could be the deceptive tactics of Nathan Sproul, who has been repeatedly accused of conducting “registration drives” very similar to the “isolated incident” recorded on tape of the nice girl misrepresenting herself and screening out Obama voters. What if the incident in that video was not so “isolated” after all?
Nothing about the story as reported so far looks good, but something worse may be lurking.