MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Last week, BuzzFlash at Truthout wrote on "GOP Voter Registration Irregularities Generally Overlooked by Mainstream Media."
What has began as a reporting of likely voter registration irregularities found in forms submitted to Palm Beach County, Florida, has become a national GOP scandal, involving state Republican Parties, the Romney Campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC).
The man behind the most recent widespread effort to allegedly fraudulently alter Republican voter registration forms without the voter's knowledge, while refusing to register Democrats (a violation of the law) or discarding the voter registration forms of Democrats (again a violation of the law) has been led by the shady Nathan Sproul, a long-time vote registration manipulator for the Republicans.
Brad Friedman, of the Brad Blog, is perhaps the most widely read national journalistic expert on voting violation issues ranging from registration to electronic voting to actual GOP voting fraud. He has again been on top of the latest Republican effort to use inappropriate and illegal means to increase Republican voter registration and decrease Democratic registration. As Friedman reports in the National Memo:
A major element of the Republican National Committeeâ€™s overall attempt to game the 2012 elections by trying to affect who gets to vote and who does not, has just been stopped dead in its tracks.
Along with it, a criminal election fraud complaint has now reportedly been filed with law enforcement in the state of Florida against a Republican firm, owned by a paid Mitt Romney consultant, which was hired by the GOP to carry out partisan voter registration operations in at least five battleground states.
Millions of dollars were spent on the aborted effort by the GOP over the last two months â€” their largest single expenditure in several of the states where the scheme was in full tilt â€” to seek out Romney supporters only, and sign them up to vote.
The strategy resulted in (or included) fraudulent registration forms collected by the firm and then submitted in Florida by the state GOP with voter addresses, signatures and party affiliations changed. Election officials in the state have told The BRAD BLOG that they fear the scheme could result in the disenfranchisement of a still-unknown number of otherwise legal voters, and they are taking extraordinary measures to try and contain the potential damage as they attempt to work through more than 45,000 new and updated registrations submitted by the GOP and verify their legitimacy.
Friedman further comments,
But despite the efforts by the RNC and Strategic Allied Consulting, run secretly by Romneyâ€™s paid political consultant, the 2012 GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, which The BRAD BLOG initially reported late last Tuesday night as it began to break, is not over yet. Not by a long shot.
It took several days for the story to go national, and for the RNC to eventually take action in firing the company that Sproul says he was specifically asked to create for them, but only after the Republican Party of Florida, and then the North Carolina GOP fired the firm first. The state parties say they had hired the company â€śat the requestâ€ť of the RNC. They fired Strategic after allegedly fraudulent and purposely changed voter registration forms turned in by the group emerged in other counties beyond Palm Beach County, FL where the Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher initially discovered and then turned in over 100 â€śquestionableâ€ť forms to the State Attorney last Mondayâ€¦.
Another matter worth looking at is the claim that this scandal is contained to only five battleground states â€” Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado â€” where Strategic Allied Consulting is known to have been operating. There is evidence, however, that SAC and/or other Sproul companies may still be operating in other states, such as California and Oregon, and that the specific type of rather offensive registration work they were doing â€” lying to potential registrants and only offering Romney supporters the opportunity to register to vote â€” is not necessarily their own strategy, but that of the entire Republican National Committee and the Romney campaign.
And then thereâ€™s the hypocrisy of Republicans and their media outlets, such as Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media, now trying to pretend that this entire matter isnâ€™t happening at all. Yes, the very same outlets that all went wall-to-wall in 2008, and beyond, in claiming (inaccurately) that ACORN was doing what this GOP group appears to actually have done, are now going out of their way to ignore this scandal.
Yes, you remember the ACORN cause cĂ©lĂ¨bre of the rabid GOP attack squad on claiming voter fraud (which is technically different than voter registration fraud). ACORN was a target because it was an organization that engaged in voting registration outreach to the poor and minorities as part of its empowerment mission. The Republicans built a trumped up case against ACORN -- with the ludicrous media frenzy over misleading sensational tapes taken by the convicted and on probation James O'Keefe -- and got Congress to prohibit federal contracts with ACORN. Eventually, the grassroots agency went bankrupt as a result. No court convicted ACORN; it was trial by FOX.
Subsequent government investigations, including the Office of the Attorney General and the Government Accounting Office found no violations of the law committed by ACORN or misuse of federal funds. But the damage was done in killing off an organization that brought the powerless into the voting booth.
Yet, now there is a massive Republican scandal, as Friedman points out, that actually has just done what ACORN was accused of â€“ and nary a word has been herd about it from members of Congress, the media in general, and conservative or even liberal activists.
Just more proof that when it comes to Republicans rigging elections by rigging the vote, there's no vigorous force to intervene and stop them.
If it weren't for the caging scandal that denied tens of thousands of minorities the right to vote in Florida in 2000 â€“ and the various GOP engineered election place voting snafus -- Al Gore would not only have won the national vote by more than a half a million votes (which he did), he would have won a decisive victory in the Sunshine State.
In many ways, many of the Republican presidential elections of the last 50 years have been stolen either through election manipulation or foreign policy interference (as BuzzFlash at Truthout detailed yesterday ).
Will the theft of democracy succeed once again?
(Photo: League of Women Voters)