More Suspicious Voter Forms Found in Florida
You can expect a sea of lawyers at the polls in Florida on election day — and I’m not talking about Republicans. The controversies over vote suppression efforts in Florida and now coupled with this growing scandal that is linked to a company that until press reports surfaced was working for the GOP. And growing it is:
The number of Florida counties reporting suspicious voter registration forms connected to Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm hired by the state Republican Party to sign up new voters, has grown to 10, officials said, as local election supervisors continue to search their forms for questionable signatures, addresses or other identifiers.
After reports of suspicious forms surfaced in Florida, the company — owned by Nathan Sproul, who has been involved in voter registration efforts since at least the 2004 presidential election — was fired last week by the state Republican Party and the Republican National Committee. The party had hired it to conduct drives in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.
In Colorado, a young woman employed by Strategic Allied was shown on a video outside a store in Colorado Springs recently telling a potential voter that she wanted to register only Republicans and that she worked for the county clerk’s office. The woman was fired, said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
The Florida Division of Elections has forwarded the reports of possible fraud to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for investigation. Prosecutors in some affected counties are also investigating. It is unclear how many forms have been forwarded, in all: in Palm Beach County, the election supervisor found 106 suspicious forms, but the number in several other counties is far lower.
Bay County has found eight suspicious forms with the Republican Party registration code connected to Strategic Allied. In Pasco County, three have been found.
The state Republican Party, which paid the company $1.3 million to register voters here, said it would file an elections fraud complaint against Strategic Allied, which is based in Tempe, Ariz.
Mr. Sproul was once the executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. In 2004, his voter registration project was investigated by the Justice Department and the attorneys general in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon after widespread allegations of fraud surfaced, but no charges were brought.
Questions are now being raised about how the company’s employees were paid to register voters.
This is a classic case of a story with “legs” — not coming at good time for Republicans, even if they’ve fired the company. The old saying, “I don’t care what you write about me as long as you spell my name correctly” doesn’t work in politics.
But to be fair to Florida GOPers:
Election supervisors are able to pinpoint the group responsible for the questionable forms because of a 2011 state law that tightened rules on voter registration groups. The law, which sparked lawsuits and controversy, requires groups to register with the state and have their registration number on the forms they distribute.
A provision that required groups to turn in registration forms within 48 hours was struck down in court this year. “The Republican Legislature was beaten up pretty badly, partially by myself,” Mr. Lux said. “But they seem to have been doing something to improve the process.”