In a scandal that is at odds with the Republican Party’s much-publicized crusade against voter fraud, the firm that was hired by the RNC to do swing-state voter registration is in hot water. As a result, the GOP has stopped its voter registration push in five electorally-vital states, just shy of key registration deadlines.
The trouble surrounding Strategic Allied Consultants first surfaced last week, when an elections supervisor in Palm Beach County flagged 106 fraudulent registration forms. It has snowballed significantly since then, and could seriously hinder Republican efforts in multiple battleground states that could decide November's election.
Here’s NBC News with some background from last week:
The allegations of suspected voter fraud committed by Strategic Allied Consulting of Tempe, Arizona spread Thursday to counties throughout Florida… "We have heard from supervisors in six counties that they have irregularities in voter registration," said Chris Cate, spokesman for the Florida Department of State, which oversees the state's division of elections. Although local prosecutors are already investigating the firm's conduct, Cate said state officials were also considering turning the matter over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to determine if there was a pattern of misconduct.
The suspected fraud included apparent cases of dead people being registered as Republican voters, said Paul Lux, the supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County and a Republican. He compared the suspected fraud to the alleged acts of ACORN, the liberal activist group that became the center of a national controversy several years ago.
The RNC also paid the consulting firm over $3.1 million to help the state parties of North Carolina, Nevada, Virginia, and Colorado, and had planned to use their services in Ohio and Wisconsin as well. But in response to the charges leveled in Florida—as well as similar ones in North Carolina—the GOP has since cut all ties with Strategic. This is a somewhat significant blow, as the group was the RNC’s sole contractor of voter registration assistance. As a result, the Republican push to register voters in five swing states with razor-thin margins has come to an immediate halt. With registration deadlines a little over a week away, the timing could not be worse for the Romney campaign as it looks to boost registration among its supporters.