Republicans and Voter Fraud

“I told my friends in the party then that paying people to do this was a bad idea, and it almost inevitably leads to problems. Unfortunately, I was not proven wrong.” – Paul Lux; Republican Election Supervisor for Okaloosa County

 

Four years ago, the Republican Party was up in arms over ACORN. ACORN was a community based organization that amongst other things registered voters in urban communities. James O’Keefe, a smug right-wing Republican, went undercover and unveiled what appeared to be gross misconduct and voter fraud being initiated by ACORN. The Republican right-wing media assassination job went into full effect and would later lead to ACORN’s demise. Now, the Republican Party has a voter fraud scandal of their own, so where is the outrage?

Glynnis MacNicol who writes for the Rachel Maddow blog posted this story concerning ACORN in April of 2010:

… the Attorney General of California Edmund G. Brown Jr. released a statement saying an investigation into James O’Keefe’s now infamous ACORN tapes revealed that “some members of the community organizing group ACORN engaged in ‘highly inappropriate behavior,’ but committed no violation of criminal laws.”

 Too bad the cutting room floor takes so long to come to light! Meanwhile, part of that “highly selective editing” resulted in the impression that O’Keefe had entered the ACORN offices in outrageous pimp garb, but this was not the case. He was actually dressed in a in a shirt and tie and “presented himself as a law student.”

 Yeah. Too bad the offices have already been closed nation-wide. Said Rachel Maddow on Friday: The whole premise of the attack on the ACORN offices was false. This guy dressed up as a pimp, went into the offices and they gave him straight up advice as if that was normal. Actually, no, he was dressed up like a law student and they called the cops on him.”

 The ACORN “scandal” had completely dominated Republican news media, The National Review and Fox News had a daily obsession with the story, but there is no such outrage over the Republicans latest efforts to suppress voters. Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm hired by the Republican Party, has been accused of wide spread voter fraud throughout crucial swing states. Lizette Alvarez, of the New York Times, recently wrote a story on the case, here is an excerpt:

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.

 Election supervisors said they have come across forms with handwriting that did not match previous registration forms, bogus addresses and other identifiers like driver’s license numbers that appeared to be invalid. But in other cases, the forms were just incomplete, which does not constitute fraud.

Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times covered the story this way:

The controversy surrounds a Republican political consulting firm whose chief operated a voter registration project that was investigated by the Justice Department and several state officials in 2004 on fraud allegations; charges were never filed, and in this 2012 instance, GOP officials, including the Republican National Committee, have been scrambling to fire the consulting firm to contain the political fallout a little over a month before the elections.

 This new dip into the same political hot water concerns a new group headed by the same man whose group is facing questions about suspicious voter registrations in swing states including Florida and Colorado. The GOP was paying the firm a reported $2.9 million to register voters. Several states, including North Carolina, are now looking more closely at voter registrations submitted by the group’s workers.

 In the swing state of Colorado, a Fox News station reported on a young woman registering voters in Colorado Springs. In a video, she said that ‘’We’re out here in support of Romney, actually,’’ and then, when she was asked who she works for, risibly claimed – after a long pause — to be working for the county clerk’s office. 

Lee Fang from The Nation Magazine compared both “scandals”:

… this year, Sproul’s alleged activities were uniquely worrisome. “So the difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out,” remarked Chris Cannon, a Republican lawmaker from Utah, who later lost his seat because of a right-wing primary challenge, during a congressional hearing on voter suppression. Indeed, many voter registration groups (including ACORN) have paid per-registration form turned in, thus incentivizing fake signatures—i.e., Mickey Mouse registering to vote. But this type of thing doesn’t actually result in fraudulent votes because Mickey Mouse doesn’t show up at the polls and try to cast a ballot. Destroying registration forms, on the other hand, means citizens who believed they were registered show up and could have been denied their vote.

When Republicans took over many of the country’s state houses in 2010 they immediately passed laws making it harder for minorities and the poor to vote. Republicans cited voter fraud to justify making it harder for former felons to regain their voter rights, enacted strict voter identification laws, and curtailing early voting. Despite the fact there had only been 300 cases of voter fraud throughout the ENTIRE country since 2000, Republicans pressed forward with their voter suppression efforts.

The Republican Party claims to be for straight and honest elections, but their recent attempts to suppress voters suggest otherwise. Since there were no widespread accounts of voter fraud, it looks as if the Republican Party decided to create it.

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