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Is The Election Already Over?

Is The Election Already Over?

The Republican war on voting has mostly been focused on voter ID campaigns as a tool of Democratic voter disenfranchisement, but lurking in many of those restrictive laws are provisions that severely curtail, or eradicate all together, early voting. Why would Republicans want to do that?

Because they’re losing.

As Talking Points Memo reports, early voting has already started in the critical swing state of Iowa and will start soon in Ohio and nearly half the rest of the states. With the election about a month away and voters already casting votes, is the election already over? From TPM:

“I am forecasting in this election cycle that about 35 percent of the vote will be cast before Election Day, George Mason University professor Michael McDonald, who researches early voting behavior, told TPM. We know 78 percent of all votes in Colorado were cast prior to Election Day in 2008, and it probably will be around 85 percent in 2012. The election will essentially be won or lost before Election Day unless its a tight, narrow, razor-thin margin.

Election watchers expect more than one-third of the votes nationwide to be cast during early voting. That means some voters will have already cast their vote before the first of the presidential debates and while both candidates are still actively campaigning.

The move toward more Americans voting before election day continues a pattern from the 2008 election. In 2008, approximately 30.6 percent of the electorate voted early. In battleground states like Florida, Nevada and North Carolina those percentages were much higher, at 51.8, 66.9 percent and 60.6 percent respectively.

The easier it is for Americans to exercise their right to vote, the more Americans will do so. And plutocratic Republicans understand that is a math that does not work out in their favor. In response, they’ve unleashed an anti-democratic campaign designed to restrict, as much as possible, American’s free exercise of that most fundamental right. But I suppose that is what happens when your only concern is holding onto power and privilege.

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138 comments

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7:42PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

I wish the republican party would put 1/2 as much effort and 1/2 as much money into cleaning up their own party fraud as they put into voter election fraud . The overwhelming majority of voter on both sides do not commit voter fraud moral or criminal, and are not the criminals the republican party is trying to make us. You can't truly say that about the politicians running or sitting in office.

7:00PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

He promised to get back to us with the name of the third-party contractor. Unfortunately, after promising to do so once again the following day, he never did.

On Friday night, FOX31 in Denver "confirmed that the young woman seen registering voters outside a Colorado Springs grocery store in a YouTube video, in which she admits to trying to only register voters who support Mitt Romney, was indeed a contract employee of Sproul's company."

FOX31 goes on to quote Miller telling them that "We are not aware of any voter registration irregularities from our efforts to register voters."

The local news outlet then wisely adds: "Of course, the state has little way of knowing if some registration forms were filled out and then discarded."

But there's a more troubling aspect to all of this, revealed by that video as well as additional reporting we have done on this matter over the past week. We hope to discuss that disturbing revelation in an upcoming article...

6:58PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

CO Viral Video Registration Worker Worked for Sproul

Finally, for now, when we first reported on this story on Tuesday, we had, earlier that morning, covered the video that had gone viral last weekend showing a young lady outside of a Safeway grocery story in Colorado Springs, CO (El Paso County), asking a potential registrant, "Would you vote for Romney or Obama?" before she would offer her a voter registration form.

We noted that help wanted ads put out by Strategic Allied Consulting in North Carolina, as first discovered by Greg Flynn of BlueNC (he was also the one to discover Sproul & Associates ownership of the StrategicAlliedConsulting.com Internet domain, before it was then set to private in a belated attempt to hide Sproul's fingerprints) sounded suspiciously like the activity seen in the CO video tape, where the GOP had paid Strategic nearly half a million dollars for registration work.

We asked in that very first article on the emerging scandal in Florida at the time: "Was the young worker in Colorado Springs hired by Strategic Allied Consulting for her work with the local GOP?"

We subsequently received confirmation from Justin Miller, the Communications Director for the CO Republican Party, that she was, indeed, working for a third-party contractor hired by the state GOP, though Miller claimed he didn't have the name of the group handy when we spoke.

He promised to get back to us with the name of the third-party contractor. Unfortu

6:54PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

While Sproul has managed to escape criminal accountability despite years of allegations against his companies in election after election and state after state, he has raked in millions from the RNC and its top superstars. In addition to working for Bush/Cheney in '04, his company was also hired by the McCain/Palin campaign in '08, even after all of the years of allegations against him.

And, once again, in this year's election cycle, Sproul was hired by the Mitt Romney campaign who paid him nearly $80,000 late last year for work as a political consultant.

Since the scandal has emerged, the Romney camp has attempted to downplay his relationship to Sproul. NBC reports that Romney spokesperson Sarah Pompei says only: "We used this vendor for signature gathering services during the primary but have not used them since 2011."

In fact, "this vendor" served as a surrogate for Romney in the media on at least one occasion during this year's primary debate season.

In February of this year, AP quoted Sproul and described him as "an Arizona political consultant who is working for Romney's campaign."

Perhaps someone should ask the GOP nominee when, if ever, Sproul stopped working for his campaign, and why it is that his spokesperson now claims that they haven't used "this vendor...since 2011".

6:51PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

At Salon, later that day, Alex Seitz-Wald reported that "a search on Strategic Allied Consulting or Nathan Sproul turns up zero results on the Weekly Standard, the National Review, RedState, the Breitbart sites, Michelle Malkin, Hot Air and other" Rightwing sites which went wall-to-wall about supposed "voter fraud" by ACORN in the past. Imagine that.

In ACORN's case, there is no evidence that any of the fraud by any of their workers either resulted in a single fraudulent vote or in anybody ever being disenfranchised. Right now, given the addresses changed on existing voter records to places like Shell stations and Land Rover dealers, as is the case in Palm Beach County, Election Supervisor Susan Bucher told us she's very worried that an unknown number of voters may find themselves disenfranchised when they go to vote on November 6, only to find that they are no longer registered at the precinct where they have voted for years.

Bucher told us on Friday night that she and her staff are madly working through some "37,000 plus address changes and 23,000 new and updated signatures that have occurred in Palm Beach County" since the beginning of August, to determine which ones submitted by the state GOP are legitimate and which ones might be fraudulent and result in a legal voter losing their right to have their vote counted this year.

This is real fraud, and the Republicanist media couldn't care less.

Mitt's Sproul Problem

While Sproul has managed to

6:49PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

As perhaps best described by former Republican Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, during a 2009 voter suppression hearing: "The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out."

But the pathetically amusing aspect here is watching, and waiting, for the same Rightwing media who turned false allegations against ACORN into a crusade to destroy the four-decade community organization (simply because they had the temerity to legally register millions of low- and middle-income voters who had the damnable tendency to vote for Democrats), to even cover this scandal at all.

Now that the things they falsely accused ACORN of doing for so many years are actually being done, by the Republicans' top voter registration outfit, the Rightwing media has fallen silent.

While we understand that Fox's Shepard Smith finally mentioned the scandal late Friday, earlier that day, after what had been nearly a full week of allegations of voter registration fraud in at least 10 FL counties by then, including allegations by one Republican election official that the group had even been found to have registered dead people as new voters, Fox "News" hadn't mentioned one word about any of it, as Eric Boehlert noticed at Media Matters. At Salon, later that day, Alex Seitz-Wald reported that "a search on Strategic Allied Consulting or Nathan Sproul turns up zero results on the Weekly Standard, the National Revie

6:44PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

In the meantime, in Virginia, Strategic Allied Consulting, was paid $500,000 this summer to register voters, according FEC disclosures reviewed by Richmond's CBS 6. The company was registered as a corporation in Virginia in June of 2012, without Sproul's name on the registration. But a visit by CBS 6's Joe St. George to the Glen Allen address listed as the corporate home of the outfit resulted in the firm that is actually located at the address, telling him that "they have never heard of the group."

No Comparison to ACORN, So Rightwing Media Isn't Even Trying (Yet)

Leon County, FL Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho, discussing the mess in the Sunshine State over the past several days, told The BRAD BLOG that "the irony is palpable, as the Republican Party has been caught doing the same thing they accused ACORN of when they shut them down."

Of course, there is no real comparison to ACORN. Unlike Sproul's outfits, the non-partisan community organizing group was never hired by the Democratic Party to do voter registration work. Moreover, it was ACORN themselves who discovered fraud by a handful of its more than ten thousand workers and notified officials of the fraud and the names of those who had defrauded them.

As perhaps best described by former Republican Rep. Chris Cannon of Utah, during a 2009 voter suppression hearing: "The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn't throw away or change registration documents after they have been

6:00PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

Yet three grafs earlier, in the very same piece, they report that "Sproul said he created Strategic Allied Consulting at the RNC's request because the party wanted to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations." Very 'bold' of them! And very 'zero tolerancy' too!

But there may be a serious legal rift developing between the party and their well-paid, longtime, hard right operative, Sproul.

In an LA Times follow-up on Saturday, Spicer disputed Sproul's claims that the party asked him to create the shell company. "To my knowledge, no one requested that," Spicer is quoted as saying.

For his part, Sproul was quoted in NBC's initial report on Thursday (though the quote was later removed during an update, for some reason --- Isikoff did not respond to our query as to why), blasting the Republican Party of Florida for making "likely libelous comments about our efforts."

On the Strategic Allied Consulting website, which has been replaced with a long statement from the firm, they repeat the charge: "the Republican Party of Florida chose to make likely libelous comments about our effort."

Sproul, to date, has declined to offer specifics to The BRAD BLOG on the record, as to what "libelous comments" he and the firm are referring to.

In the meantime, in Virginia, Strategic Allied Consulting, was paid $500,000 this summer to register voters, according FEC disclosures reviewed by Richmond's CBS 6. The company was registered as a corporation in Virgi

5:58PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

In a lengthy new statement on the front and only page of their website, Strategic has modified that theory slightly:
We are aware of questionable cards in a few additional counties. In the three counties where we know the details, each county is limited to one individual.

That claim is either true, or not.

'Bold Action'? RNC Had Sproul Create Shell Company to Hide Him

But the most laughable part of the GOP response to all of this came from RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer, who is quoted in an NBC video report on Thursday saying, with a straight face:
"We, at this point, have an allegation. That mere allegation has caused us to act --- act swiftly and boldly --- and sever our ties with this firm because we have a zero tolerance [policy] when it comes to this. The other side clearly engaged for a long time in inappropriate behavior. We don't believe that that's appropriate. And we wanted to make a swift and bold action to illustrate that."

Setting aside his unsupported smear that "The other side clearly engaged for a long time in inappropriate behavior", when there is no known comparison to any similar activities by the Democratic National Committee or any of its state parties to our knowledge, the most absurd part of Spicer's declaration is the assertion that his party acted "boldly".

On Friday, the LA Times reported Spicer's comment about having acted "boldly."

Yet three grafs earlier, in the very same piece, they report that "Sproul

5:56PM PDT on Oct 1, 2012

(continued)

It should be noted that while Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VA) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) requested that George W. Bush's then U.S. Attorney General "launch an immediate investigation into the activities of Mr. Sproul and his firm" in 2004, no charges were ever brought. Instead, as Lee Fang observed at The Nation, the Bush Administration (who had spent millions hiring Sproul for similar work in 2004) "literally welcomed Sproul and his wife into the White House for a Christmas party in 2006."

The Strategic website also claims that investigations into allegations of voter registration fraud by Sproul's companies, as carried out by the "Democrat" Attorneys General of Arizona and Oregon, as well as another by the Nevada Attorney General, did not result in charges either.

'One Individual'? That's One Busy Individual!

The initial responses from both Strategic Allied Consulting and the RNC was to downplay the problems as little more than mischief caused by "one individual" who worked for the firm. ...

... But with potentially fraudulent forms tied to the Republican Party reported in at least 11 FL counties --- "in South Florida, including Miami-Dade, as well as counties in southwest and northeast Florida as well as the Florida Panhandle," as AP describes them --- the "one individual" theory was dead almost as soon as it was uncritically passed on to the public by the media.

In a lengthy new statement on the front and only page of their website, Strategic has m

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