Voter-Registration Fraud Exists

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A lot of people on the left have been decrying GOP efforts to pass voter ID laws nationwide this year, arguing there is little or no voter fraud and that Republicans are just trying to suppress likely Democratic voters. Well, at least with regard to voter registration fraud, those critics are wrong: it may well exist.

See the following LA Times story detailing the efforts of one Nathan Sproul, whose organization Strategic Allied Consulting was paid more than $3.1 million by the Republican National Committee to mobilize voters and is being investigated by Florida prosecutors for possible fraud in voter registration forms.

“A number of dead people were trying to register to vote,” said one Florida election supervisor, according to the Times.

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mike0404
mike0404

Hmm, vot kind of name is Missimo?  Maybe ve shout inspect yor birth certificate, da long form!  Or has my dear uncle youst to say in da Fatherland after he clicked his heels; YOUR PAPERS!

Jeanne Kalvar
Jeanne Kalvar

Valiant attempt at irony, but I think it was not successful.

outsider2011
outsider2011

As Ivy has been saying

GOP’s ACORN moment

A Republican consulting firm allegedly

commits voter registration fraud. Where's the right-wing outrage this

time?

There are still plenty of conservatives who think ACORN stole the 2008 election for Obama and will do it again this year. ACORN was everywhere four years ago. Even John McCain, late in his campaign and desperate to land a blow on Obama, ran an ad

tying his challenger to the community-organizing group before saying in

the final debate that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating

one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

How did ACORN steal the election? A number of the group’s paid

canvassers had been caught submitting false voter registration forms in a

handful of states, using the names of dead people or false addresses,

in order to avoid working.

Four years later, ACORN is dead, and a

Republican firm contracted by the Republican National Committee has

adopted its shady tactics. But, so far at least, there’s been hardly a

peep from the same conservatives who seized on ACORN about one of their

own engaging in almost identical fraudulent tactics.

Prosecutors

in Florida are looking into alleged voter registration fraud conducted

by employees of Strategic Allied Consulting, which the RNC and state

parties hired in at least five states. The RNC has now cut ties with the firm

after news broke that its employees had registered dead people and

listed the addresses of a Land Rover dealership and other non-residences

on registration forms. Paul Lux, the Republican supervisor of elections

in Okaloosa County, Fla., who first brought the suspect registration

forms to the attention of prosecutors, said as many as one in three were

questionable. “It’s kind of ironic that the dead people they accused

ACORN of registering are now being done by the RPOF [Republican Party of

Florida],” Lux said.

Of

the myriad conspiracy theories about Obama, the ACORN one had perhaps

the most truth to it, though that’s a low bar. Some ACORN canvassers

did, in fact, submit fraudulent voter registration forms, but there’s no

evidence that anyone committed actual voter fraud nor that it was part

of any kind of concerted effort to sway the election. ACORN noted it had

13,000 paid canvassers and that it was only a tiny handful who

submitted phony forms. As the Republican prosecuting attorney said in

King County, Wash., where the largest ACORN registration fraud suit took

place, “[A] joint federal and state investigation has determined that

this scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting. Instead, the defendants cheated their employer … to get paid for work they did not actually perform.”

For

this, the group was killed. Tea Party groups organized rallies, local

authorities squeezed the group, and Congress even introduced and passed a

bill in 2009 called the “Defund ACORN Act.”

The group, which suffered from other significant legal and financial

issues, is now defunct. But in that time, ACORN became a top-tier

villain of the right, mentioned

hundreds of times in 2008 and 2009 by conservative media figures

tracked by Media Matters. In later 2009, the pollster PPP asked

respondents, “Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the

Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for

him?” Among Republicans, only 27 percent said Obama actually won the race — 52 percent said that ACORN stole it. Even some GOP congressional candidates blamed their losses on ACORN.

Should

we expect the same kind of outrage from the right over the RNC’s

contracting of a firm that did essentially the same thing as ACORN, and

maybe even more? Don’t hold your breath.

Beyond Florida, Strategic

Allied Consulting has been hired to register GOP voters in Nevada,

North Carolina, Colorado and Virginia. Indeed, it was the the only

firm hired by the RNC for voter registration, according to a

spokesperson. At least one other election official in Florida has found

suspect registration forms, and it’s too early to tell if the firm’s

work in other states may be compromised as well.

But it’s not like

the party had no warning. Nathan Sproul, the consultant who runs

Strategic Allied Consulting and a handful of other companies, has a long

history of dabbling in the political dark arts and has received copious

public criticism for it. As Brad Friedman notes,

Sproul’s antics have included everything from gathering signatures to

put Ralph Nader on the ballot in 2000 to being banned from Wal-Mart for

putting on partisan voting drives. In 2004, workers hired by Sproul said

supervisors disposed of registration forms completed by Democrats. “They were thrown away in the trash,”

an employee said. Canvassers are allowed to “pre-screen” people for

party affiliation, but cannot dispose of an already completed voter

registration form. That year, Sens. Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy sent a

letter requesting that the Justice Department investigate the

allegations, but the Bush DoJ did nothing.

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/2...

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

1) This is voter registration fraud, not voter fraud.  We've seen plenty of cases of that before (and ACORN pretty much became a beloved Fox punching bag because of it) 

2) Every time its happened, we're reminded again and again that voter registration fraud does not result in actual votes being cast by these illegal registrations

3) Still doesn't disprove that the election is being stolen.... as noted by that wonderful video clip that the Republican PA governor was trying to win the election using voter ID laws rather than because Romney, y'know, actually won.

Pnnto
Pnnto

Right issue, wrong story.

The registration story going into the election is purging voter rolls, not expanding them with dead people.

That and voter ID.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Republicans have been scrubbing legitimate voters for years - this is voter fraud.

53underscore3
53underscore3

Malissimo:

One of our resident GOPers had admitted that Voter ID laws are intended to suppress likely Dem voting.  Another commenter pointed out that of 180,000 voters to be purged in FLA, (I don't remember who, either Foghorn, Kathy, or Ivy_B) only 36 remained.

There's also the issue of trying to simply slow down voting for those deemed "suspect" at the polling place.

Don't you think it might be time to look at the other side of this issue?  At what point do you actually look at your partisan attitude and then realize:

"This is about one of our most basic rights"

gysgt213
gysgt213

By the way. The republicans are trying to suppress the votes.  This is a long standing tactic of theirs and is in no way something new.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 Yeah, why wasn't THAT the topic of your column?

Greg Clapp
Greg Clapp

Everyone knows voter registration fraud exists. But repeated studies show that actual voting fraud exists, at most, at a rate of 0.004% (Colorado). 

gysgt213
gysgt213

Who on the left has ever denied that voter registration fraud can be a problem?  But even then its not fraud as much as it is companies and organizations hiring low wage people entirely uninterested in what they are doing and  providing little or no oversight of these workers who in turn make up crap so they can turn their lists in and get paid.

jsfox
jsfox

Dear Massimo - Please learn to differentiate between registration fraud and voter fraud. The first has been going on forever, the second is non-existent.

thebobbob
thebobbob

Registration fraud? I thought it was voter fraud.  Registering Mickey Mouse to vote is a meaningless act. There is NO VOTER FRAUD!

Arimathean
Arimathean

God Almighty...  We are one close election away from losing the right to vote in this state (FL).

outsider2011
outsider2011

Put this in y our pipe:

Republicans should not be surprised if voter laws becomes a major

topic of debate this election season—they will be the ones responsible

for making it so. Over the past two years, the GOP has made a concerted

attempt in a number of states to tighten voter registration procedures,

cut back on alternatives such as early voting, and—most

controversially—require would-be voters to show state-issued photo IDs

as proof of identity. Because there’s such little evidence that these

changes are needed to eliminate widespread voter fraud, it’s hard to

avoid the conclusion that many Republican legislators want to discourage

voting among groups—especially minorities and the poor—that cast their

ballots mainly for Democrats.

But it’s worth remarking that beneath these crass political motives

are some deeper moral issues. Proponents and opponents of these changes

agree on one thing: Voting will be harder, and turnout will be lower.

But is that necessarily a bad thing? Proponents think not. Speaking for

many others, Florida State Senator Mike Bennett said, “I don’t have a

problem making [voting] harder. I want people in Florida to want to vote

as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert.

This should be something you do with a passion.”

There’s something to this, of course. It is morally gratifying to

witness the joy of peoples who are able to vote for their own

representatives after decades of authoritarian governments—even more so

when they have won this ability through sacrifice and struggle that have

cost some their lives. In the United States, the movement that enabled

long-disenfranchised African Americans to cast their ballots represented

a moral high point in American history. African Americans who

participated or lived through that struggle have never taken voting for

granted, and they have worked hard to pass on that sentiment to their

children. At the same time, they insist—undeniably—that their struggle

should not have been necessary: The struggle was simply the means to

attain a civic status that every citizen should enjoy.

That is why African Americans have a problem with making voting

harder, as should we all. It’s common knowledge that poorer and less

educated citizens have a harder time navigating a system that is already

the most complex least voter-friendly of all the Western democracies

(which helps explain why our turnout is so low). Facially neutral

registration and voting requirements will have asymmetrical effects, a

fact that only the willfully blind can deny.

http://www.brookings.edu/resea...

Woody Davis
Woody Davis

"Well, at least with regard to voter registration fraud, those critics are wrong: it may well exist."

In other words, you don't have any basis for your opinion, except you believe something or what someone said without researching it.

grape_crush
grape_crush

A lot of people on the left have been decrying GOP efforts to pass voter ID laws nationwide this year, arguing there is little or no voter fraud and that Republicans are just trying to suppress likely Democratic voters.

And they're still right, Calabresi. I'm sure that you're smart enough to know the difference between submitting fraudulent voter registrations and voter impersonation, the near-nonexistent latter of which is what these voter ID laws are nominally all about.

I'd actually feel sorry for the RNC, who got gypped out of some decent money, if I knew whether or not all those registrations that got thrown out were for GOP voters. Knowing what rat-f**kery goes on with voting in Florida and with the Republican party in general,  all those invalid registrations were from Dem-leaning districts.

I wonder how many people who go down to their precinct to vote on election day are going to get told that they're not registered...and never had any notification that their registration form got tossed.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"A lot of people on the left have been," claiming that the Earth is round. Jack@sses.

cent_fan
cent_fan

"  'A number of dead people were trying to register to vote,' said one Florida election supervisor, according to the Times."

Well I hope they arrested those dead people and deported them... and why can't they learn to speak English instead of "Aaaughrrrr... ".  Really, that show "Walking Dead", just Left Wing propaganda.

RushedLimbo
RushedLimbo

Republican are committing election fraud and voter fraud.  What next, betraying the country and mocking the death of embassy officials?  Or maybe some more Issa witch hunts? Or some tax evasion? Why not jusat fix the election? Why noit. We don't need our votes to count. 

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

(With apologies to Claude Rains): I'm shocked, shocked to find that voter registration fraud is going on in Florida!

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Since I live here, I'm shockproof.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Swing and a foul ball, MC. 

It's not the fraud that's the fraud, it's the absentee ballots that could be the main source of fraud...and nobody cares!

The most recent claim involves Florida Gov. Rick [Crook], who hired an alleged 'boletero' for his 2010 campaign. In [Lurch's] case, the campaign claims it did nothing wrong and indeed nobody has been charged. But the claim follows the arrest of a boletero in a separate case, and coincides with a wave of coverage and attention in the Miami-Dade, Fla., area surrounding what for authorities is an illicit practice.  

"Boleteros -- translated roughly to mean ticket-person -- assist in collecting absentee ballots and helping primarily elderly and disabled voters in filling them out. This can be entirely lawful, but sometimes these workers walk a fine legal line."

Reason # 913 why I hate our governor's guts.

http://www.foxnews.com/politic...

http://www.miamiherald.com/201...

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

The fact that absentee ballots are a huge potential source of fraudulent voting simply reinforces the (reasonable) belief that the primary purpose of these voter ID laws is to suppress the vote by "undesirable" (i.e., the 47%) segments of the population. 

<sarcasm>The Constitution says these people have the right to vote, but we all know they don't really deserve it.</sarcasm>

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Especially in some recent cases where the "helper" was only acting to register GOP or Independent voters.  The person in question walked away if the prospect said they were Dem.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

This really has me fuming.  I had no idea Lurch was even involved with this until now.

He spent million$ to buy the '10 election and to now know that he stooped to this level to get absentee votes just really galling.  He's a ridiculous man who like Momney cares for the other 53%.

ERenger
ERenger

It makes perfect sense to me that at the same time Republicans are purging the Florida voter roles of legitimate Democratic voters in the name of fighting voter fraud, they are hiring shady firms to fraudulently register Republicans. This is to be expected. 

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

As I told Joe in the VA thread, The proper way is to simply follow the money through the system and ask what motivation gets applied to individual workers.

In this case we're discussing people who are PAID to add names to registration rolls. Follow the money. OTOH are we then to believe that there's an army of people willing to risk felony convictions in order to actually VOTE under those fraudulent registrations? Follow the money. The inevitable answer is NO! 

Voter registration fraud and voter impersonation are two separate issues and the only reason to conflate them is deliberate dishonesty.

ERenger
ERenger

It is absolutely true that voter registration fraud and voter impersonation are two separate issues. If you are simply registering fake identities, then it doesn't affect the election unless someone actually shows up to use that fake identity.

However, that's not all this fraud was limited to. This fraud also included changing the addresses of legitimately registered Democrats. That tactic works to disenfranchise the Democratic voter. So it is not necessary for anyone to actually show up at the polls and use the fraudulent registration in order for that kind of fraudulent registration to affect the election.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

Agreed: Strategic Allied Consulting is the Republican version of ACORN. But, don't expect to see much (if any) of that comparison from Sean Hannity. O'Reilly, maybe — even though he's a pompous bully, he sometimes calls BS, even from his own side.

grape_crush
grape_crush

 Voter registration fraud and voter impersonation are two separate issues

and the only reason to conflate them is deliberate dishonesty.

This.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

You beat me to it...

I was mostly through a long posting then decided to wait and see it someone else managed to say what I was thinking.

You did... bravo! This has been brought up enough in the past that I can't believe that the merging of the two issues is anything but intentional.