Governor Rick Scott of Florida has purged voter rolls across the state in an order to curb in-person voter fraud, but perhaps his focus should have been on the state’s own Republican Party.
Eleven counties and counting have reported hundreds of what seem to be intentional errors on official voter registration submissions. The Florida Republican Party submitted hundreds of voter registration forms in which birthdays were incorrect, names were intentionally misspelled, and multiple forms with errors were written in the same handwriting. In Santa Rosa county alone, there were one hundred fraudulent applications, including one for a dead voter.
True to its values, the Republican Party outsourced registration efforts to a company called Strategic Allied Consulting. The Arizona-based corporation is run by Republican activist Nathan Sproul, whose past endeavors include serving as the executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and an advisor to the Romney campaign. But Sproul’s time with the Arizona Republican Party was sullied by allegations that his employees had intentionally destroyed Democratic registration forms in 2004. This prompted an investigation by the Justice Department and the attorneys general of Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, but no charges were filed.
And Sproul’s past isn’t news to the Republican Party, which quickly severed ties with the company after the hundreds of cases of fraud were discovered. Sproul was allegedly asked to set up a new firm to deal with the Florida Republican Party, one that did not list him on any corporate paperwork. The RNC has denied that such a request was made, but the timing seems like too much of a coincidence. And, given the current state of affairs, it seems that such a request was not only likely but necessary.
Many in the media have compared this scandal to the 2008 scandal that ultimately brought down ACORN, but there are some key differences. While ACORN volunteers – hired by ACORN and unafiliated with any campaign – did submit faked voter registrations, it was the organization that caught this, not the Board of Elections in any state. Here, the Republican Party contracted out voter registration to an organization run by a suspect former elections official, and allowed hundreds of forged and sabotaged documents. The equivalency is as false as the registrations themselves.
Once again, the GOP has proven that there is no one more in need of legal scrutiny than they themselves. And with so many close elections, that scrutiny is going to be the only thing that has a chance from stopping Republican officials all over the country from lying, cheating, and stealing their way into power.