Russia, Kazakhstan, Egypt, Gambia, Liberia… Neutral observers have charged that recent elections in these countries have been skewed by voter fraud. Are any of them paying attention to what is going on in the United States this election season?
I’m not so ignorant of our history to suggest that our national elections have been models of legality and propriety. I know about New York’s Tammany Hall, ward politics in Chicago, and Lyndon Johnson’s “87-vote landslide.” But one would hope that lessons from history and the transparency provided by the internet would make us more honest than we used to be.
In the 2010 election, the onus was mostly on ACORN, a national community organizing group that was also involved in voter registration. That is a story in itself, but to summarize, a media-inflamed case was made involving “allegations of phony names on voter registration applications.” ACORN officials themselves alerted officials to the activities, and the individuals perpetrating the illegalities were terminated. Subsequently, the organization went bankrupt. So much for that!
But what is going on this year makes ACORN’s wrongdoings look like very small potatoes—acorns?—indeed.
This time around it is the GOP in the spotlight in what is actually a continuation of questionable and illegal activities frequently linked with a person described as “The notorious Nathan Sproul.” It’s been reported regarding “Sproul many times over the years, as the GOP operative, and former chair of the Arizona GOP and the state’s Christian Coalition, pops up again and again in each Presidential Election year. He is hired over and over by the Republican Party, despite years of fraud allegations in multiple states against his organizations, which are said to have routinely changed or entirely destroyed Democratic voter registrations.”
What is notable about Sproul is that he has managed to continue to inveigle his way onto the payrolls of Republican organizations in a number of battleground states using a variety of names and methods.
“He operates as Sproul & Associates as well as Lincoln Strategy Group, among other names, including now, apparently, Strategic Allied Consulting.
“And this year, after being hired by the Bush/Cheney campaign in ’04 and the McCain/Palin campaign in ’08, Sproul was ‘quietly’ hired by the Romney campaign as a political consultant late last year, according to a June report from Lee Fang at the non-partisan Republic Report.”
Political operatives employ a number of “dirty tricks” such as voter registration drives in which party affiliations are switched or misrepresented, and forms of new registrants are destroyed if they list the “wrong” party. Add this to the efforts of states to require stringent voter ID standards, which mostly impact the poor, elderly, or minority citizens, and you’re looking at a significant impact on the outcome of the election.
In the face of this widespread impropriety, what can any prospective or newly-registered voter do? It’s going to take some resolve! If you have already registered, or think you have, contact your county clerk’s office to verify your eligibility and the accuracy of your information. If you are having any difficulties registering, contact your local party organization and enlist their help in getting onto the rolls. Being eligible to vote shouldn’t be so difficult, but if it is, it is also worth fighting for!