MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Brad Friedman reports on a remarkable story of seemingly systematic Republican voter registration fraud occurring nationally. Although he focuses on Palm Beach County, Florida, where the elections supervisor recently found more than 100 questionable registration irregularities submitted by a "vendor" for the GOP, Friedman exposes a much broader trend across the nation of Republican state parties and the Romney campaign abusing the voter registration system.
Occasionally, pieces of this likely illegal manipulation of the voting process, get picked up by local mainstream press, such as the Palm Beach Post. It reported on the most recent Florida abuse:
The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month.
Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms.
The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August.
But the national press seems to write more about a false Republican narrative about virtually non-existent Democratic voter fraud than the GOP effort to violate voter registration laws. Friedman notes that the person at the center of the Florida accusations, and whose firm has just been fired by the Florida Republican Party, is a shady GOP figure from past elections, Nathan Sproul. According to Friedman:
The firm [responsible for the voter registration irregularities in Florida] 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….
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 step s to hide their ownership by Sproul's notorious firm, Sproul & Associates.
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.
Needless to say, it is ironic that the Republican Party is reportedly engaged in massive voter registration violations, while it has successfully created a national perception of virtually non-existent voter fraud in order to justify voter suppression laws against Democratic Party demographic groups. Take for example the Los Angeles Times report, "Tea party groups work to remove names from Ohio voter rolls. Activists say they're challenging some names to ensure 'election integrity.' Others say it's an effort to suppress the votes of likely Obama supporters."
As Greg Palast writes in "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps" (available from Truthout here):
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School brings together America’s most prestigious scholars in the field of voting rights who are widely ignored because of their unquestioned expertise. The Brennan Center reports that the ID laws are racist, ageist, classist, and the stupidest way to stop “fraud.”
Here’s the Brennan Center breakdown of those without government photo ID:
6.0 million seniors
5.5 million African Americans
8.1 million Hispanics
4.5 million 18-24 year olds
15 percent voters with household income under $35,000 a year.
Now, don’t add them up because there’s a lot of double-counting here. “Poor,” “black,” and “young” go together like “stop” and “frisk.”
But let’s cut to the chase: the draconian ID law and other voting and registration restrictions passed in just the year before the 2012 election, according to the Brennan Center, are going to cause five million voters to lose their civil rights.
Overwhelmingly, the changes were made in twelve “battleground” states, with the most radical exclusion laws adopted in Florida and Wisconsin. The cheese-chewer state will require government-issued IDs to vote. But the IDs issued by the state itself to University of Wisconsin students won’t be accepted. That’s okay because, as a New Hampshire legislator, hoping to emulate Wisconsin, points out, “Kids, you know, just vote liberal.”
There is a travesty of the most fundamental right of US citizenship going on: the Republican attempt to manipulate the right to vote in a partisan fashion.
Interestingly, one of the few fraudulent cases of voting in the past few years involved, as Brad Friedman documents, none other than Ann Coulter. She's joined, according to Friedman, by other Republican political figures who generally go unprosecuted.
But we don't hear much about Republican voter fraud and vote manipulation in the corporate press, do we?
If the Brennan Center is correct and a potential of five million people may lose the right to vote under GOP suppression laws (and another recent study put the figure as high as 10 million who might not be able to vote even though they are entitled to), then the wrong done will be at least 5 million violation of voting rights to maybe 10 cases of prosecutable voter fraud.
That's an outrage to the Constitution of the United States. It is abhorrent to a democracy.