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GOP Vote Theft Scandal Widens

Those who were wondering how low Republicans are willing to go in suppressing Latino and African American votes should read Brad Friedman's "GOP voter registration scandal widens: A Virginia official is busted for tossing voter forms. Turns out he works for the national party, too" at Slate.com. Here's an excerpt, beginning with the lede:

A man originally reported to have been working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by the Rockingham County, Va., Sheriff's Office on Thursday and charged with attempting to destroy voter registration forms by tossing them into a dumpster behind a shopping center in Harrisonburg, Va.

"Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice," according to a report late Thursday afternoon from TPM's Ryan Reilly. More charges could be forthcoming, according to officials.

But there is more to the story, as evidence emerges to document that it ties into a still-expanding nationwide GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal that the BRAD BLOG first began reporting in late September, after we'd learned that the Republican Party of Florida had turned in more than 100 allegedly fraudulent and otherwise suspect voter registration forms in Palm Beach County. The story has continued to widen ever since, to a dozen Florida counties and several other states, now including Virginia, and even to the upper-echelons of the Republican Party itself.

The man arrested today was 23-year-old Colin Small of Phoenixville, Pa. As it turns out, he does not only work for the Virginia Republican Party. According to an online profile, he appears to be working for the Republican National Committee and, prior to that, served as an Intern for Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Joseph Tanfani at the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Small was "working as a supervisor as part of a registration operation in eight swing states financed by the Republican National Committee."

He was first hired, says Tanfani, by Strategic Allied Consulting, the firm owned by the disgraced GOP operative and paid Mitt Romney political consultant Nathan Sproul. Even before this year's registration fraud scandal, which began with Strategic in Florida, Sproul's companies have long been accused of, though never charged with, destroying Democratic voter registrations in election after election and state after state, going back to at least 2004. Despite that, Sproul was hired by the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004, by the McCain/Palin Campaign in 2008, and by Romney during the Republican Primary cycle.

Sproul's company, Strategic Allied Consulting, was hired by the RNC in August for more than $3 million, reportedly as its sole voter registration company this cycle. His company was said to have been fired by the RNC and five different battleground state Republican parties several weeks ago, after fraudulent voter registrations began to emerge across Florida. Some of those questionable applications included address changes for existing voters, such that Florida election officials told the BRAD BLOG they worry voters could find themselves disenfranchised come Election Day. In Florida, as in many states, provisional ballots cast at precincts other than where voters are officially registered will not be counted. So changing the addresses on voter registrations without voters' knowledge is a serious crime with potentially very serious consequences.

Friedman has a lot more to report about this and related incidents in this article and his other posts. Let's hope that the negative publicity associated with voter suppression will backfire in a big way against the Republicans. From now until the election, every citizen who cares about democracy -- regardless of their political leanings -- should help educate the public about this threat via email, facebook and all other social media. Friedman's article is a good start.