use the definition of Swing States by the Swing State Project.
select your state of interest to proceed. (If there is no link, that
means there is no content for that state yet).
Fraudulent calls to
in West Virginia telling them they are not registered to
vote spread to another county; identical earlier
incident was traced back to state GOP
For Immediate Release
Contact: Stephen Skinner
REPUBLICAN PARTY DECEIVING VOTERS IN WEST VIRGINIA
Charles Town, W.V., Oct . 31, 2004 – Democratic leaders in one of
the nation’s most hotly-contested battleground states are
receiving reports of voter suppression activities that can be traced
back to the Republican Party. The suppression activities have
continued despite warnings from officials in Berkeley and Jefferson
“These phone calls are outrageous and illegal,” says Michael
Cassell, Chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party. “They
are designed to suppress the vote for John Kerry and all democrats.
The republicans were warned before, but they continue to break the
In mid-October, John Smalls, County Clerk in Berkeley County, W.V.,
sent a letter to the Eastern Panhandle Republican Party about phone
calls that were traced back to its headquarters. The calls made to
Democrats in this tri-county area 60 miles northwest of Washington,
D.C., informed Democratic voters they were either not registered at
all, or would not be able to vote on election day.
At that time, Republican Party spokesperson Mary Diamond admitted
that some mistakes may have been made. She said the calls were made
to determine if people were registered to vote.
When he learned of the activities in neighboring Berkeley County,
John Ott, the top election official in Jefferson County stated,
“This is an improper act.” He encouraged voters to contact
authorities if they receive improper phone calls.
In the last few days, suppression activities have spread to
Jefferson County. Several voters have received phone calls telling
they are not registered despite the fact that they are.
calls are being made by people who claim they are calling from
Democratic headquarters in Charles Town,” Cassell said. “They
trick voters into revealing personal information, and then tell them
they cannot vote.”
“He told me I was not a registered voter,” said Bill Jackson of
Charles Town, of the phone call he received. “Later when I found
out that he was not calling from Democratic headquarters, I was
outraged. I wonder how many other voters have gotten these calls.”
“This is exactly the kind of dirty trick Republicans tried in
Florida four years ago.” Cassell says. “I’m calling on the US
Attorney to prosecute these illegal phone calls. ”
Fraudulent calls lead
some West Virginia voters to vote via absentee ballot even though they
may not be eligible to do so
here's a report
from the Charleston Daily Mail:
West Virginia voters
are getting some misleading information about voting rules as
Election Day approaches -- a problem elections officials only expect
to get worse in the next 18 days.
Cabell County Clerk
Karen Cole said her office has received several complaints and
puzzled calls from would-be voters who say they were encouraged by
an unknown group to vote by absentee ballot, even though they don't
meet the requirements to vote by mail.
Cole said the
confused voters got automated calls asking if they wished to vote by
mail this year. By pressing a number on their telephone keypads, the
voters were unknowingly ordering an application for an absentee
But only voters who
can't get to the polls during the early voting period that began
Wednesday or on Election Day qualify to vote by mail. That means
absentee ballots that don't qualify could be thrown out.
know what to think. Now they're not sure how or when they can
vote," Cole said. "We're just telling them to come in and
vote here, and that we'll void their absentee ballots. It's the only
way to be sure that everyone gets counted."
Cole said her
deputies started noticing a few weeks ago that an unusually large
number of absentee ballots were coming in with no indication why
people were voting by mail. Cole said her office staff began sending
out notices that the questionable ballots would be treated as
That's when the phone
definitely something different than past elections. We had five
calls one morning and at least a handful every day," Cole said.
"I knew something was going on."
When she talked to
voters, they told her the automated calls didn't identify who was
calling or why, but left the impression that they were from an
official source. Cole can't release the names of the voters, but
said they include Democrats, Republicans and independents.
Along with elections
officials from the Secretary of State's Office, Cole is
investigating the origin and purpose of the calls. She's hoping to
have an answer soon.
Jan Casto, the
elections chief for Secretary of State Joe Manchin, said she wasn't
surprised to hear about the trouble in Cabell County.
"As we get
closer to Nov. 2, I expect we'll be hearing more stuff like that.
Every election there's always plenty of misleading information out
there," Casto said. "Whether it's outright attempts to
suppress votes or just simple confusion, we have to set the record
straight for people."
Casto said the
solution for any voter who gets confusing information about voting,
registration or any other election issue should go to the top. By
law, Secretary of State's Office officials and county clerks are
responsible for giving straight answers on elections issues, and
Casto said voters shouldn't be afraid to ask.
we're here. There's going to be a lot of conflicting information out
there, but they can get it straight by calling us," Casto said.
"People can get it right and make sure their vote counts."
Anyone with questions
can contact the Secretary of State's office at 558-6000.
West Virginia GOP makes
fraudulent calls to Democrats telling them they are not registered to
vote and will not be allowed to vote
Public and Mark
Kleiman, we have this NBC
republicans get a slap on the wrist after they are accused of
trying to persuade democrats not to vote.
polls show that the race between President George W. Bush and
Sen. John Kerry is still very close in West Virginia, and each
camp is going the distance to clench a victory for their
But now, election officials believe some in the Eastern
Panhandle are going too far.
In a letter, Berkeley County clerk John Smalls cites calls
from a cell phone were made to Eastern Panhandle democrats
telling them that they were not registered to vote. The letter
also said the calls informed democrats in some cases they
wouldn`t be able to vote on Election Day.
John Ott is the top election official in Jefferson County.
"This is an improper act and they should notify the
proper authorities," he said.
It`s considered an improper act because when upset citizens
called the voter registration office to make sure they were
registered to vote, indeed they were. So, who made these
misleading calls? The Berkeley County Clerk`s Office traced
the number voters gave as the source back to the Eastern
Panhandle Republican Headquarters.
"Whenever you give misinformation to encourage voters to
stay home, we all suffer as a result," said John Fink
with the Berkeley County democratic executive committee.
John Fink, who is with the Kerry Campaign, is concerned more
about the effect of the calls than the callers.
"They really muddy the water with information or
misinformation in this case that they`re putting out about the
election process. There still is a large number of people we
need to get into the fold. Now we`re democrats and
republicans, but after the election we`re all Americans,"
Republican spokesperson Mary Diamond said the calls may have
been an unfortunate part of a larger goal.
"The purpose of the calls is to make sure everyone is
registered to vote. If they are, then great. That`s exactly
what we need. The point is to make sure they are registered.
Everyone needs to be registered to vote in this election, it`s
as simple as that," said Diamond.
GOP funded group
fraudulently poses as non-partisan to selectively register people as
Republicans in WV and does not offer registration cards to Kerry
supporters (unless specifically asked)
In an apparent repeat of what
was seen in Oregon, a voter registration firm hired by a
Republican firm/funded by the RNC misleads would-be registrants into
thinking they are registering via a non-partisan firm. The name Nathan
Sproul is involved in this as well. It appears this may be going on in
Johnson at Dailykos has this post:
for information on the voter registration fraud stories breaking
tonight in Nevada and Oregon, I kept coming across the same name: Nathan
Sproul of Sproul & Associates in Phoenix, Arizona.
Nathan Sproul is the
former head of the Arizona Republican Party and of the Arizona
Christian Coalition (ah, the irony... a Christian).
Sproul is connected
with the Republican National Committee-funded voter registration
organization, Voter Outreach, Inc., a group that used paid
registrars to register voters in a number of states including
Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and perhaps more, including Pennsylvania,
Virginia, Maine and Missouri. (Others states pending,
particularly swing states.) Sproul's organization also
recruited registrars by fraudulently telling recruits that they
would be working for America Votes, a legitimate nonpartisan GOTV
How about this newsgroup
posting to a forum for librarians warning them of a possible
fraud perpetrated by Sproul. It includes a description of the
scam in Pennsylvania, an article from a West Virginia newspaper
reporting the same scam, and a comment from a librarian in Medford,
Oregon outlining the same scam in her library... all fraudulently
misrepresenting the organization doing the hiring as America Votes:
Date: Fri Sep 17, 2004 5:49:58 AM US/Eastern
Subject: Re: SCAM ALERT: Voter Registration
We had the same
thing happen here in PA. Sproul and Associates hires
Kelly temp services to do voter registration. At one library
where they were suppose to be only doing voter registration they
also asking people how they were going to vote. I did some
and found out that they were doing the same thing in WV (see the
article below) and one temp worker claims that they were trained
ask people how they were going to vote. If the person said
they were given a voter registration form. If they said
were just told thank you and no form was given. When we
found out we
asked them to leave immediately. One explanation from Sproul
Associates was that they were doing "market surveys" at
Later they claimed that it was just a problem with a few temp
Sproul and Associates is headed by Nathan Sproul the former head
the GOP and Christian Coalition in Arizona.
They also always
said they represented America Votes. When I finally
asked them to give me the contact information for America Votes
told me that "America Votes is a non-partisan voter
project of Sproul & Associates. Everything originates
office. There is a partisan organization with that same
Clearly they know that when they say they represent America Votes
are misleading people.
Here is the article
from the WV paper for more info.
Headline: VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE 'MISLEADING'
Byline: TOM SEARLS
For a mother of two
teens trying to finish up college, $9 an hour as a
temporary customer service representative sounded good.
"I wanted to
find something that would work around my schedule and be
flexible," said St. Albans resident Lisa Bragg.
After spending more
than an hour with Charleston personnel agency
Kelly Services last week, Bragg was hired. "They wouldn't
tell us at
first what this job was," the 37-year-old Bragg said
Then she found out
it was registering Republican voters at One Stop
convenience stores throughout the Charleston region.
But she won't be
there today, the first day she was scheduled to be on
"I'm giving up
a job that I need," she said. "It's the only decent job
While the job was
to last six weeks, the $9 an hour was far above the
minimum wage of $5.15 Bragg was offered for most other temporary
Bragg feels her
employers were misleading the public, even if it's not
illegal. Employees were to approach One Stop customers and ask if
favor George Bush or John Kerry for president. If Bush was their
answer, they were then to inquire if the person was registered to
and offer them a voter registration card.
If the person
supported Democrat Kerry, they were only to say thank
you and give them a registration card only if asked.
If asked questions,
employees were instructed, "Only state you are
there to conduct a simple field poll to see what neighborhood
is ... a nonpartisan registration drive."
They were told to
quietly listen to any person who becomes angry and
to remember, "The goal is to register Republicans and to
"Is this the
way it has to be? People have to be sneaky to make $9 an
hour?" Bragg said.
Employees were also
given the number of a Kelly Services employee to
contact if there are problems. Contacted Wednesday, two different
employees said they would have someone from Sproul &
firm paying for the survey, answer any questions.
Later, a Kelly
Services employee who would identify himself only as
"Rob" initially said a message had been left with Ben
Sproul's office. He said he had no contact number for Decker, then
agreed to release a Michigan number.
A message left with
Decker was not returned.
Services] said the less you know about the company, the better
off you are, especially if the media would come asking
said Bragg, an admitted Democrat. "That made me more curious
as to who's behind this and what's going on."
Associates appears to be operated by Nathan Sproul, former
head of the Arizona Republican Party and a wealthy GOP activist
has been involved in petition drives. An Internet search shows
has received some financing from national Republican groups,
was not clear who is paying for the West Virginia work.
Bragg, and another
person working for the group, said they were told
the owners of the One Stop stores had agreed to allow them to
the work on the stores' lots. Patrick C. Graney III and Michael R.
Graney are listed as the principal owners of 42 One Stop stores,
according to the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.
Messages left at One Stop's headquarters in Belle were not
For Bragg it's an
economic loss, but one she carries with pride. She
asked about registering voters with another organization - a group
that treats those of all political persuasions the same - and
pays only $5.50 an hour.
"I just don't
want to be in my hometown and mislead people," she said.
To contact staff
writer Tom Searls, use e-mail or call 348-5192.
Date: September 16, 2004 3:29:16 PM PDT
Cc: Subject: [LIBS-OR] SCAM ALERT: Voter Registration
Jackson County Library has been contacted by persons
purporting to represent America Votes. Our director was
a Harry Miller and asked to call an 800 number to give permission
America Votes to conduct a non-partisan voter registration project
our libraries. I received a letter from Sproul and
consulting firm in Arizona,also saying they represented America
with the same request. I contacted the Kevin Looper, the
Coordinator for America Votes, to verify the information and
this reply from him:
"Here is what
I know: We do not have a Harry Miller in our employ.
This organization is absolutely not representing America Votes,
National leadership is initiating action to get them to cease and
desist representations that infringe upon our rights and mislead
Further, Sproul and
Associates is a partisan political consulting firm
Based in Arizona that works for very conservative causes and has
worked to oppose campaign finance reform. Their use of our
name to cover their political leanings makes me question the
overall intregrity of the voter registation that they seek to
conduct. I will be forwarding this information to the
Secretary of State's office for further investigation."
Headquarters Library Manager
Jackson County Library Services
205 South Central Ave.
Medford, OR 97501
So here we have
Sproul involved in three (swing) states, using a bogus GOTV name to
disguise his organization's own name, and using fictitious names
(Harry Miller) as "contacts" for those with questions.
But that's just the
tip of the iceberg with Mr. Sproul and the RNC. Keep in mind
that in the recruitment ads for Voter Outreach, Inc, run on
careerbuilder.com in targeted states (including Missouri and
Arizona), the bottom of the ads included this statement:
Paid for by the
Republican National Committee. www.gop.com. Not authorized by any
candidate or candidate's committee.
Manjoo at Salon.com has a story on Sproul and Associates:
Lisa Bragg, a
37-year-old mother of two in St. Albans, W. Va., spotted a newspaper
ad last August for a customer-service position offering the pretty
good wage of $9 an hour. Bragg, who studied communications in
college and talks with the easygoing flair of someone who
"really just loves people," called the number and soon
found herself in the offices of Kelly Services, the national temp
agency, filling out an application. And then, like the other people
who'd come in for the job, she discovered that there was something
The people at Kelly
were cagey about the nature of the position. They first made the
applicants watch workplace-safety videos before divulging that the
job had nothing at all to do with customer service. Instead,
employees would be conducting a "political survey." At
that point, some annoyed applicants walked off. Those who remained
were asked to attend "orientation" at the Charleston Civic
Center the next day. There, the workers were let in on the big
secret: "They said we'd be working for the Republicans,"
Bragg recalls. "They'd been sneaky all along, so when they said
that, you could hear the sighs around the room." The applicants
were then handed several documents describing what they would be
doing -- and Bragg, a proud Democrat, saw that the entire enterprise
was based on deception, and she decided to walk away.
session that Bragg attended that summer afternoon in West Virginia
was, it turns out, part of an apparent nationwide voter-registration
scheme engineered by Sproul & Associates, an Arizona consulting
firm that's been
more than $600,000 by the Republican National Committee this year.
During the past week
and a half, several former employees, elections officials and others
across the country who've had dealings with the firm have revealed
to various local media outlets Sproul's methods for boosting GOP
registration in key swing states. The accounts allege that Sproul's
workers were encouraged to lie, cheat and, according to Eric
Russell, a former Sproul employee in Las Vegas who first told
his story to a local television station last week, even destroy
the registration forms of Democrats who'd registered to vote with
Sproul canvassers. Sproul has denied those charges, variously
challenging the veracity of its former employees; but taken
together, the stories are compelling, and they may provide an early
glimpse into the kinds of shady tactics Republicans are using to win
at the polls this year.
In Bragg's account,
workers were asked to congregate outside local convenience stores
and pretend to be nonpartisan political pollsters interested in the
nuances of local opinion. "If anyone asks what kind of poll
[this is], it is a simple field poll to see what neighborhood
support is," reads the script Sproul handed Bragg. But if the
respondents to this pretend poll said that they were Bush
supporters, canvassers were told to offer to help them register to
vote. If they said they were Kerry supporters, the canvassers would
politely walk away.
Bragg says that
fooling people was the key to the job. Canvassers were told to act
as if they were nonpartisan, to hide that they were working for the
RNC, especially if approached by the media. Bragg's story mirrors
the accounts provided to Salon by several librarians across the
country who say they were contacted by Sproul in early September. In
letters the firm sent to the libraries, Sproul misrepresented itself
as America Votes -- a left-leaning national voter
registration group not affiliated with Sproul -- but said that
it was interested in registering "all those who wish to
register to vote." Shortly after Sproul canvassers began
working the libraries, though, patrons began complaining that the
canvassers were being especially inquisitive about their political
leanings, and some were pushing people to register as Republicans.
Pushiness seems to be
a common theme in accounts of Sproul's activities. Barbara Nielsen,
the clerk of Douglas County, Ore., says that she received a couple
of written complaints from local citizens who'd been harassed by
Sproul canvassers bent on recruiting people for the GOP. Since many
Sproul canvassers were paid for each Republican registration form
they handed in but got nothing for Democratic forms, some had an
incentive to coerce people to go red, and to be careless about the
forms Democrats handed to them. Michael Johnson, a Sproul canvasser
in Portland, Ore., told
a local TV station there last week that because he wasn't being
paid for the Democratic forms he turned in, he "might"
sometimes trash them. The revelation prompted Oregon officials to
open an investigation into Sproul.
Across the nation,
state and federal officials are now looking into Sproul's efforts.
There is no evidence that Sproul's questionable tactics were
encouraged by Republican Party officials or, indeed, that the RNC
even knew what the firm was up to. In statements, the Republicans
have responded to the Sproul news by claiming to have a
"zero-tolerance policy for anything that smacks of impropriety
in registering voters."
But Democrats in
Arizona say that the RNC was playing with fire in choosing Sproul
for its outreach efforts and that the selection at least shows the
party's lack of concern for preventing fraud. Nathan Sproul, the
32-year-old founder of Sproul & Associates (who did not respond
to several of Salon's phone calls), "always seems to be playing
things right on the edge," says Bob Grossfeld, a Democratic
political consultant in Phoenix. Sproul's efforts, earlier this
year, to collect signatures to repeal Arizona's public campaign
financing bill were considered underhanded. Democrats also blanched
at Sproul's involvement over the summer with Ralph
Nader's efforts to find a place on the Arizona ballot.
spokeswoman for the state's Democratic Party, says news of Sproul's
activities in Nevada didn't come as any surprise to anyone in
Arizona. "Absolutely no surprise. Nathan Sproul is accused of
ripping up Democrats' registration forms? Everybody went, 'Oh, sure,
that sounds right.' So why is this man who's been known to be
involved in these activities continually receiving contracts from
the Republican Party?"
- - - - - - - - - - -
"Hello, we are
doing a simple survey. If the election were held today, would you
vote for President Bush or Senator Kerry?" So goes the first
question on the script that Sproul's employees were asked to read to
prospective registrants. The script, which was provided to Salon by
Lisa Bragg, is printed on Sproul & Associates and America Votes
letterhead, even though Sproul & Associates is not affiliated
with America Votes. (In other states, the company has also gone by
the name Voters Outreach of America.)
Bragg gave Salon
several documents that she was handed during the recruitment
session. Some of these documents counseled employees not to dismiss
Democrats; the headline on one of the documents reads, "Don't
turn anyone away!" In large, all-caps type, it says, "ALL
CITIZENS WILL BE PROVIDED THE SAME OPPORTUNITY TO REGISTER."
The documents also remind canvassers to be polite. "If a person
becomes angry, it is important to listen to them, but not argue
back," the documents say. "If a person is agitated, they
might complain to the store manager, risking the loss of this
location to register voters at. Please be sensitive toward others of
different political affiliations who do not want to support
President Bush. The Goal is to Register Republicans, and to remain
But while they were
asked to keep a cheery outlook, it's clear the employees were also
told not to register Democrats unless people specifically asked for
the forms. In what's called the "Kerry Scenario" on the
script handed to employees, people who said they supported the
Democrat for president were to be told, "Thank you very much
for your time, I will record this." But people supporting Bush
were to be told, "Great, well this is a very important
election. Are you registered to vote at your current
residence?" The Sproul employee was to help those who were not
registered fill out the form.
On Wednesday, the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported
that a Sproul employee script that it had received from a former
worker in western Pennsylvania featured additional questions for
undecided voters: "Do you consider yourself pro-choice or
pro-life?" and "Are you worried about the Democrats
raising taxes?" If the voters were pro-life, they were to be
registered. "If they are pro-choice, say thank you and walk
To Bragg, such
tactics constituted lying to her friends and neighbors. "They
were asking me to be deceptive and to go behind people's back,"
she says. "I thought that was wrong and sneaky." She
remembers other prospective workers at the recruitment drive also
saying they felt uncomfortable with these guidelines, but for many,
the money was too good to pass up. "Most people jumped at the
chance to get this kind of work. A lot of the jobs around here are
minimum wage, and this was a good opportunity for people who needed
some part-time work or flexible hours."
Some workers at the
orientation session said that they would try, despite Sproul's
rules, to register Democrats anyway, Bragg recalls. "But the
Sproul people were saying that they were going to have people
checking up on us in the field. I thought, 'I don't want to be
looking over my shoulder to see if Big Brother is watching me to
make sure I'm not signing up Democrats.'" Bragg decided not to
take the job and instead she alerted her former college journalism
professor and the local press about her experiences. Her story was
first reported, to little national notice, in the Charleston Gazette
in late August.
In the past few
years, left-leaning third-party advocacy groups have made voter
registration a priority, and they've launched unprecedented efforts
to sign people up for the polls. Though nominally nonpartisan and
not affiliated with the Democratic Party in any official capacity,
nobody doubts that the efforts of these groups -- such as the real
America Votes, which works together with America
Coming Together (ACT) and the Media
Fund -- are meant to bolster Kerry in November. So how is
Sproul's work different? Why is it wrong when Sproul asks its
workers to focus on Republicans in the same way that America Votes
might ask its workers to canvass a historically Democratic
Those are the
questions the RNC asks in attacking Democrats "whose selective
outrage does not apply to Democrat aligned groups like ACT, ACORN
and others despite widespread allegations of systematic voter
registration fraud." And in fact, the Republicans are right
that some progressive groups have been accused of registration
mischief. On Oct. 11, for instance, a local television news show in
that employees for ACORN, a group that has focused on registering
low-income minorities, say they've been registering the same people
multiple times in order to get paid more than once. (ACORN says that
it's investigating the claims and notes that, logically, it doesn't
have an interest in paying employees extra for registering the same
people more than once.)
But former employees
and others who've dealt with Sproul say its efforts go beyond the
line of acceptable party boosterism sometimes seen in voter
registration efforts. The firm's tactics are systematically
deceptive, they say; lying seems to be part of its normal business
plan. When you tell people you're doing a poll but you aren't really
doing a poll, you're lying to them. The established left-leaning
groups say they'd never engage in such a practice -- and so far,
there's no evidence they have engaged in it.
The yarn that Sproul
concocted for librarians around the country during the summer is
another example of the company's uneasy relationship with truth. One
of these librarians is Meghan O'Flaherty, the central library
manager of the Jackson County Library in Oregon, who received a
solicitation letter from Sproul in early September. "Our firm
has been contracted to help coordinate a national non-partisan voter
registration drive, America Votes!, in several states across the
nation," the letter began. It went on to ask permission to have
"1 to 2 people assigned to register voters" outside the
When she got the
letter, O'Flaherty looked online for more information about America
Votes, and after calling the group she discovered that the real
America Votes wasn't connected with Sproul's firm. "I do feel
they were trying to deceive me," she says now. Flaherty posted
her findings on a librarian's listserv, and when her story was reported
in the local paper on Sept. 21, Nathan Sproul professed innocence.
"We were not trying to copy their name," he told the
paper, saying that he'd never before heard of the large, well-funded
Holly McCullough, the
special assistant to the director of the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh, also received a solicitation from Sproul &
Associates in September. McCullough and other librarians in the
region initially let the firm conduct registration at the libraries.
When library patrons began complaining about the Sproul workers'
tactics, though, she called the company and complained. In response,
the firm told her some outlandish stories.
Sproul first said
that workers had been asking people their political affiliations
"because they were doing some market analysis in the
area," McCullough says. "I told them they were only
supposed to be doing registrations, not market analysis. So then
they said they were having trouble with temp agency they were using:
the temp workers weren't working according to the rules. In my last
conversation with them I asked them who they're associated with --
are you really with America Votes? They put me on hold. Then they
came back and said, 'We've always represented that we were Sproul,
and America Votes is a non-partisan group we're working with.' But
then they said, 'There is another, partisan America Votes,
and we're not affiliated with them.'" McCullough asked the firm
to cease its operations at her library.
Despite the recent
chatter among librarians and some former employees about Sproul's
practices, the various threads of the Sproul story weren't pulled
together until Eric Russell, a 26-year-old in Las Vegas, came
forward last week with his explosive account. Russell, who has
acknowledged a beef with the firm over pay, told his local CBS
affiliate that supervisors at the company routinely discarded
Democratic registration forms. The station, KLAS 8, managed to fish
some from the trash, and when it contacted the affected voters they
were, understandably, shocked.
responded by questioning Russell's motives and his political
affiliation. "There's no way to prove what he says either way.
He's a disgruntled employee who had access to those forms. There's
no way to prove he didn't tear them up," says Brian Scroggins,
chairman of the Clark County Republican Party. "I was told he
had a prime seat at the Michael Moore event the other day,"
Scroggins added. According to a report in the Arizona
Republic on Friday, Nathan Sproul responded to Russell's
allegations by filing a defamation lawsuit against him. "The
lawsuit claims that after Russell was fired, he returned to the
office holding what appeared to be voter registration forms and told
workers he would claim that he saw a supervisor tear up the forms
unless he was paid what he wanted," the paper said.
Sproul also told the
Arizona Republic that his firm has turned in more than 1,000
Democratic registration forms in Nevada, and many others elsewhere;
he has no policy against registering Democrats, he said. This was
confirmed for Salon by elections officials in the regions where
Sproul has been known to work; many said that Sproul's workers did
indeed turn in Democratic forms. But the Democratic forms were far
outnumbered by the Republican forms, officials said, as you'd expect
to occur with the kind of dishonest tactics Sproul was using.
declined Salon's request to interview his client, citing the
distress caused by the many attacks Russell has faced since he came
forward. But the attorney, Michael Mushkin, says that his client has
not been served with any lawsuit.
Russell has been
interviewed by the FBI, according to media reports. But if his story
proves true, action by law enforcement may not make much difference;
the damage may have already been done, at least for the many
Democrats who registered to vote with Sproul's workers who are
unsure whether their forms were turned in. In Nevada, the Democratic
Party asked a judge last week to open voter registration for one
additional day to accommodate the disenfranchised. The request was
denied on Friday afternoon.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Democrats in Arizona who
claim to see a connection between Nathan Sproul and the efforts of
the state and national Republican Party point to this
fact: Sproul's Phoenix office is located at 4715 N. 32nd St.,
Suite 107. The offices of Gordon
C. James Public Relations, a Republican political firm run by a
former member of the advance team for George H.W. Bush, and his wife
Lisa, the head of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign in Arizona, are
located at 4715 N. 32nd St., Suite 104. At least
geographically, then, Nathan Sproul is very close to a few of the
most well-connected, powerful GOP politicos in the state.
But do the
connections go beyond the physical? Gordon James says no; he and his
wife don't have a working relationship with Nathan Sproul, he said.
"We don't do any business together," James said.
"I've been with the Bush family for 26 years. I barely know
Nathan. We both happen to be Republicans." Before she began
working on the Bush-Cheney campaign, though, Lisa James did head a
group called No Taxpayer Money for Politicians, formed in the spring
by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to pass a ballot initiative that would
have essentially repealed Arizona's Clean Elections campaign finance
system. Sproul, a former head of the Arizona Republican Party, was
hired by No Taxpayer Money for Politicians to conduct a signature
drive to get the anti-Clean Elections bill on the ballot.