Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that "Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country." Voters say they were duped into registering as Republicans - Los Angeles Times
Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.
"The firm hired by the California Republican Party -- a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states -- has been accused of using the tactic across the country."
"Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit."
The owner of YPM, Mark Jacoby, was arrested over the weekend for having fraudulently registered himself to vote at a childhood California address where he no longer lives so he would appear to meet the legal requirement that all signature gatherers be eligible to vote in California. Ontario police arrest man in voter fraud case
YPM has been accused of using bait-and-switch tactics across the country. Election officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM workers in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit.
The Phoenix New Times reported earlier this year that YPM was a subcontractor for the Scottsdale firm, Petition Partners LLC, that was at the center of several failed initiative petitions in Arizona this year (including Ward Connerly's anti-affirmative action inititative, and the Majority Rules intiative backed by Nathan Sproul - more about him later.) Some petitions allegedly were in reality petitions to put Ralph Nader on the ballot. Citizen initiatives have been kicked off the ballot this year in record numbers, and the problems could go much deeper than invalid signatures.
[I] think it may be a problem involving lousy subcontractors. Everybody in town seems to have used YPM LLC, a Florida-based company owned by Mark Jacoby. And Jacoby's group is at the center of Jack Bickley's most damning allegations. (Jacoby, who has left town, did not return calls for comment by press time.)
Bickley says that Jacoby encouraged, and even expected, behavior that could well be criminal under Arizona statutes.
Jacoby, he says, had a system where a trainer would be assigned as many as six new circulators. Even though the trainer would be nowhere near the circulators while they collected signatures, he would still sign the back of their petitions, attesting that he'd personally witnessed them.
"The person who signed the back was not present when the petitions were signed," Bickley says. "How could he be? He had five or six people working under him at different spots around town."
Both Jacoby and Jenny Breslin, who owns JSM LLC, served as subcontractors on all the initiatives handled by Petition Partners. (They also contracted on the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative.)
Both Jacoby and Breslin have generated controversy in other states.
In 2004, "the St. Petersburg Times linked Jacoby to a registration scam. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating, the paper wrote, after receiving allegations that as many as 4,000 voters were registered as Republicans without their consent. Jacoby was never charged."
"Kevin Tyne, a spokesman for the [Arizona] secretary of state, tells me that his office has forwarded allegations of impropriety to the [Arizona] attorney general. (He did not specify which companies, or individuals, are being targeted.)"
MSNBC's Contessa Brewer asked legal analyst Susan Filan on Monday about this case. "This is really serious," Filan responded. "This is a very specific, deliberate intent to mislead." She contrasted it with the far more trivial accusations of voter fraud against the anti-poverty group ACORN... Filan commented that "To say this is politically motivated is just nonsense. To not prosecute something like this would be an extreme dereliction of a public official's duty." Analyst: GOP voter fraud scandal 'really serious' (video link).
But wait! There's more. Arizona's very own renowned GOP voter suppression specialist, Nathan Sproul, is back in the news. Those of us in the election integrity community have been pursuing this evil GOP bastard for years (here's a brief summary of his activites in the 2004 election (Team Bush Paid Millions to Nathan Sproul--and Tried to Hide It | BaltimoreChronicle.com), but he has been protected by the Bush "injustice" department (possibly tied to the U.S. Attorney Gate scandal, hmm?), and the Arizona McMedia who will not investigate or report about his misdeeds because Sproul does consulting work for the McCain campaign (and many other Arizona Republicans). Here are a number of BRAD BLOG reports on Sproul & Associates (now known as Lincoln Strategy). (A shout out to Brad Friedman!)
CNN affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas reported that "Federal, state, and local officials are gathering information about allegations of voter registration fraud that were first raised by Channel 8 Eyewitness News." Las Vegas Now | Investigation into Trashed Voter Registrations
On Tuesday afternoon, Las Vegan Eric Russell and his girlfriend took a packet of documents to the Las Vegas FBI office but left before filing a formal complaint about what Russell says was a deliberate effort to disenfranchise local voters.
Russell worked for a company called Voters Outreach of America, along with 300 other people. He says he got into a beef with the company over a pay dispute, and witnessed his bosses ripping up registration forms that had been filed by Democrats.
"They were thrown away in the trash. I grabbed them out," said Eric Russell.
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In Oregon, the same company that was operating here has been criticized for its tactics in signing up voters. There, it used the name America Votes, which is actually the name of a Democratic organization.
CNN fleshed out its affiliate's reporting with this report. CNN.com - Nevada investigates voter registration - Oct 14, 2004
Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday that his office was reviewing the allegations, first raised Tuesday in a report by CNN affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.
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The probe centers around a private voter registration firm, Voters Outreach of America, which collected registrations from voters in Nevada, a pivotal presidential battleground state. The company was set up by Sproul & Associates Inc., a Republican political consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.
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But Nathan Sproul, head of Sproul & Associates, disputed the allegations, saying that his company has a "zero tolerance" policy for such conduct and describing Russell as a "disgruntled former employee" who was fired a week ago.
Sproul provided sworn statements from two supervisors who said they turned in all of the collected forms and that none were "discarded, destroyed, tampered with."
However, Sproul, whose firm received nearly $500,000 this election cycle from the Republican Party, said that "it is safe to say we were trying to register Republicans."
In a statement, the Republican National Committee said, "Anyone who engages in fraudulent voter registration activities should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
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Voters Outreach of America is also under investigation in Oregon for "alteration and destruction of voter registration cards," said Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
She said her office had received numerous complaints since CNN affiliate KGW in Portland broadcast a report spotlighting an out-of-state canvasser who was registering only Republicans.
The Campaign Legal Center provides additional background. "This company was hired directly by the Republican National Committee. Identical allegations were made against this company in Pennsylvania in 2004."
- Sproul's role in voter registration drives this month triggered official investigations in several other states with canvassers alleging they had been told to discard Democratic voter registration forms, leaving voters who thought they had registered off the rolls.
- The firm has a contract with the Republican National Committee to register new voters and has operated using the name Voters Outreach of America. Sproul's chairman, Nathan Sproul, is a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party.
- Voters Outreach of America is also under investigation in Oregon for "alteration and destruction of voter registration cards," said Anne Martens, a spokeswoman for Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury.
- The FBI and local election officals are inverstigating the allegations.
Sam Stein at the Huffington Post reports that John McCain is paying this GOP voter suppression specialist $175,000, under Lincon Strategy. McCain Employing GOP Operative Accused Of Voter Registration Fraud.
According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of "registering voters." The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to hinder the Democratic ticket.
In a letter to the Justice Department last October, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers said that that Sproul's alleged activities "clearly suppress votes and violate the law."
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The Republican National Committee has also separately paid Lincoln Strategy at least $37,000 for voter registration efforts this cycle.
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Sproul, who has donated nearly $30,000 to McCain's campaign, has been in the good graces of GOP officials for the past decade despite charges of ethical and potentially legal wrongdoing.
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Sproul's contract with the GOP ticket -- in addition to news of Republican officials attempting to suppress Democratic turnout in California -- raises, for some, questions about McCain's own efforts.
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As Republican Congressman Chris Cannon summarized during a joint hearing for the subcommittee on commercial and administrative law back in May 2008: "The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out."
Indeed, Sproul's history is filled with allegations of political misdeeds. During the 2004 election, Sproul & Associates (the former name of Lincoln Strategy) was accused of attempting to destroy forms collected by Democratic voters in Nevada. That same year in Oregon, Sproul & Associates allegedly instructed canvassers to only accept Republican registration forms in addition to destroying those turned in by Democrats.
In Minnesota, meanwhile, Sproul's firm was accused of actually firing workers who brought back Democratic registration forms, while other canvassers were allegedly paid "$13 an hour, with the $3 bonus for every Bush, undecided or Ralph Nader voter registration." Similar problems related to Sproul & Associates popped up in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
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[T]here has been a wide array of public complaint over the scope and nefariousness of his activities. Sens. Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy sent a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004 asking that the Justice Department "launch an immediate investigation into the activities of Mr. Sproul and his firm." Three years later, members of Congress still weren't satisfied. Rep. Conyers complained in an Oct. 2007 letter that the Justice Department was not closely scrutinizing Sproul's efforts. "The alleged misconduct described by many witnesses," he wrote, "clearly suppress[es] votes and violate[s] the law."
The destruction of voter registration forms is a felony. It is a serious crime and should not be treated lightly.
If anyone has information pertaining to the petition gathering by Young Political Majors (YPM) in Arizona, particularly any voter whose voter registration was switched without their consent to Republican, or if anyone has information pertaining to the voter registration drives by Voters Outreach of America (or Sproul & Associates nka Lincoln Stategy), particularly anyone who believed that they registered to vote as a Democrat but has since learned that they are not on the voter rolls, please contact your County Recorder's Office and the Arizona Attorney General's Office immediately and make a formal written complaint. Help the election integrity community build a legal case against these evil GOP bastards and bring them to justice.
And to you local yokel political reporters in the Arizona McMedia who protect these evil GOP bastards: by failing to report their misdeeds you are in effect helping to cover up potential crimes and are obstructing justice by failing to inform victims that a possible crime has been committed and that they should contact appropriate law enforcement with any evidence that could lead to an arrest, indictment and possible conviction.
How about just once you in the McMedia put "country first." “What’s really threatening to destroy the fabric of our democracy are right-wing efforts to suppress millions of newly registered voters, both Democrats and Republicans around the country,” as Kathryn Kolbert, president of People For the America Way correctly noted.
UPDATED: Keith Olbermann has reported this story on Countdown (video below the fold). Where are the Arizona McMedia who continue to cover up this story?