Raleigh, N.C. — Liberal writers have been hammering state Republican parties for hiring a Republican firm linked to questionable voter registration tactics. As this post on The Nation's website explains:
The Palm Beach Post report last night that a Florida Republican Party contractor turned in at least 106 “questionable” registration firms, with “similar signatures” and wrong addresses, doesn’t seem like a national news story. But it has unwoven a somewhat concealed effort by Republicans in several states to deploy a firm with an ugly history of allegedly destroying Democratic voter registration forms and other acts of fraud.
The contractor in Florida is called Strategic Allied Consulting, a business entity created a few months ago and registered online by a former Arizona Republican Party director named Nathan Sproul.
Sproul, a consultant based in Tempe, is infamous for accusations that his firms have committed fraud by tampering with Democratic voter registration forms and suppressing votes. Sproul was hired by the Romney campaign for a period of five months that began last November and ended in March. But now there’s evidence that the payments continued, only to a different name.
BlueNC blogger Greg Flynn did a detailed piece on the work of a company linked to Sproul here in North Carolina.
Paid voter registration efforts are nothing new. While campaigns would prefer to rely on volunteers, signing up voters can by drudgery.
But Republicans have been running on a platform that includes requiring photo ID when voters go to the polls as a way to combat voter fraud. So there's an heavy dose of irony that the GOP has been paying a company that is itself linked to questionable voting practices.
Asked several questions about this today, North Carolina GOP spokesman Rob Lockwood e-mailed me the following: "The NCGOP takes any threat to the voting process very seriously. We have terminated our relationship with Strategic Allied Consultants."
Update: Lockwood said the North Carolina GOP does not have another vendor doing this same sort of work.
Update 2: North Carolina Democrats were getting ready to hit the GOP over Sproul's involvement here. The following was to be Rep. Larry Hall's statement before the GOP said they fired Strategic Allied Consultants:
"North Carolina Republicans have spared no time or expense in their efforts to limit democracy and keep North Carolinians out of the democratic process. North Carolina is fortunate that Democrats fought against GOP efforts to pass discriminatory voter ID laws. Now Republicans are using this unethical and shady firm to try to get a leg up in this election because they know North Carolinians aren't interested in their message of slashing education to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. I am calling on the North Carolina Republican Party to denounce this group and their shameful tactics and to immediately fire this firm."