One of the more interesting issues in the 2012 election is the question of voter ID laws. Ever since one elected official let it slip that, maybe, possibly, there might be some political motivations behind asking people to show a government-issued ID in order to vote, there’s been a lot of hubbub over whether this is a plot by the GOP to stop Obama supporters from voting and change the outcome of the election. Opponents of voter ID measures point out that voter fraud is extraordinarily rare, and so these measures clearly can’t be about protecting the sanctity of the voting process.
But now proponents of voter ID laws, many of whom are Republicans, have their proof that election fraud does occur and we do need to do something to protect against it. There’s only one small problem – the people doing it were apparently hired by the Republican Party. Talk to me, LA Times:
The Republican National Committee has abruptly dropped ties to a firm running a major get-out-the-vote effort in seven swing states after Florida prosecutors started an investigation into possible fraud in voter registration forms.
Working through state parties, the RNC has sent more than $3.1 million this year to Strategic Allied Consulting, a company formed in June by Nathan Sproul, an Arizona political consultant. Sproul has operated other firms that have been accused in the past of improprieties designed to help Republican candidates, including dumping registration forms filled out by Democrats. None of those allegations have led to criminal charges.
Strategic Allied Consulting was hired to do voter registration drives in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada, and had been planning get-out-the-vote drives in Ohio and Wisconsin, according to Sproul. Lincoln Strategy Group, another Sproul company, was paid about $70,000 by Mitt Romney’s campaign during the primaries to gather signatures.
In Florida’s Palm Beach County, election officials turned over 106 forms to prosecutors after discovering forgeries and other problems. Officials in other counties are now reviewing voter registration forms turned in by the state GOP.
Oh my, this is awkward. In fact, the only thing that would be more awkward is if a member of Congress was now asking a Governor in one of those states for an investigation, but that Governor had actually pushed for stricter voter ID laws, even passing a voter registration bill which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court, and now that Governor isn’t saying a word about all of this because it’s his party doing it. Good thing that isn’t happening, though. Right?
In the wake of revelations that Strategic Allied Consulting, a controversial voter registration firm that has worked for the Republican National Committee, the Florida Republican Party, and the Romney campaign, is under investigation for turning in fraudulent voter registration forms in Florida, a Florida Congressman is calling for a bipartisan probe. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) wrote Monday in a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R):
In light of the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida, I urge you to immediately appoint a bipartisan task force to investigate the accusations and ensure that the integrity of our voting rolls will not be compromised by Strategic Allied Consulting’s deliberately fraudulent voter registration operations. […]
Deutch observes that Scott’s silence and inaction on the scandal, to date, are “shocking and hypocritical.”
Wow. That is really, incredibly awkward.
Look, we’re talking about voting here. This is a not-unimportant part of the political process in this country. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to make it harder for people to exercise that right. We certainly shouldn’t allow people to try and do that for political gain. That’s why this is absolutely wonderful – because it’s the people who are trying to make it harder for people to exercise their right to vote who are getting hit by this. It’s the best kind of schadenfreude there is.
Bottom line, if you’re going to vote, make sure you know what’s expected of you before you do. And don’t let them stop you.