Republicans have stopped registering voters in five states, following new allegations of voter registration fraud by a controversial company hired and paid for by the Republican National Convention. The RNC shouldn’t be surprised, either. The firm, Strategic Allied Consulting, was formed in June by Nathan Sproul at their request, after they suggested Sproul form a new company to better distance himself from previous allegations of registration irregularities that Sproul’s outfits had incurred in previous elections. “In order to be able to do the job that the state parties were hiring us to do, the [RNC] asked us to do it with a different company’s name, so as to not be a distraction from the false information put out in the Internet,” Sproul told the Los Angeles Times. The publicity they speak of? Allegations that Sproul's firm illegally destroyed Democratic voter registrations in the 2004 and 2008 elections. That's illegal, though no charges were filed in either year.
It's worth being clear: Voter registration fraud isn't voter fraud. When someone writes "Mickey Mouse" on a registration form, the Disney character doesn't show up at the polls. But in those cases, it was alleged that Sproul's group deliberately discarded forms filled out by Democrats, meaning that when those would-be voters showed up at the polls on Election Day, they wouldn't be registered. That's less about fraud, and more about suppressing the vote.
Now, Sproul’s new group is accused of falsifying registrations in Florida. And as a result the RNC has fired the group, meaning it'll end its voter registration efforts in five states, just a week before most state's registration periods end.
“You wonder what priority they were giving voter registration ... if they were giving it all to this one company,” The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne told The Rachel Maddow Show host Rachel Maddow. “I don’t remember anything like this—except for ACORN,” Dionne added. But he suggested this is worse.
“ACORN themselves had called attention to the voter registrations and they disciplined themselves, and yet this was a big scandal and they lost a whole lot of money and they had to go out of business," Dionne said. "Why isn’t this the same thing for conservatives?”