After Bucher sounded the alarm, election officials in at least 11 Florida counties said they had uncovered potentially fraudulent voter registration forms submitted on behalf of the state Republican Party.
By Friday, county election officials had found dozens of forms turned in by the party that had wrong birthdays or spellings of names that didn’t match signatures. In other cases, multiple forms were filled out in the same handwriting. One voter in Palm Beach County was registered to an address that is a Land Rover dealership.
“It was that flagrant,” said Ann W. Bodenstein, the elections supervisor in Santa Rosa County, where officials found 100 problematic applications — including one for a dead voter. “In no way did they look genuine.”
The Florida GOP had contracted out its registration efforts to a newly formed company called Strategic Allied Consulting. The Republican National Committee had urged party organizations in seven swing states to hire the firm, directing at least $3.1 million in payments to it.
The RNC and its state affiliates hastily cut ties with Strategic Allied Consulting when the first questionable forms were discovered in Palm Beach County. On Thursday, the Republican Party of Florida, which paid at least $1.3 million for the voter registration work, filed a complaint of voter fraud against the firm. And the state Division of Elections turned over the problematic forms to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Strategic Allied is run by an Arizona-based consultant and Republican Party activist named Nathan Sproul, who has been dogged by charges in the past that his employees destroyed Democratic voter registration forms. No charges were ever filed. But his reputation is such that Sproul said RNC officials requested that he set up a new firm so the party would not be publicly linked to the past allegations. The firm was set up at a Virginia address, and Sproul does not show up on the corporate paperwork.
In a statement released Friday, Sproul said his company hired more than 2,000 people to do voter registration in Florida and thousands more nationwide. He said the questionable forms were the work of just a few individuals.
“The reason we have quality control measures in place is because we recognize that with projects this large, there will be isolated incidents of individuals trying to cheat the system,” he wrote.
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