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Florida Republicans all the way to the governor's office have made a big deal about stopping voter fraud at the polls despite studies showing the actual numbers of such fraud are less than minuscule. But with the revelation that a company with ties to Mitt Romney, Strategic Allied Consulting, was submitting hundreds of suspect voter registration forms, they don't seem to know how to proceed. Or simply don't want to. The deadline for voter registration is one week away.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the alleged fraud. The Republican Party of Florida, which had hired SAC at the urging of the Republican National Committee, has fired the firm.

SAC has submitted nearly 47,000 voter registration forms. But neither governor's office nor the secretary of state's office has offered any guidance to county election supervisors on how to deal with forms they have received that might be bogus. Both are Republicans who have been in the forefront of an effort to remove Floridians from the voter rolls and attempt other efforts that would suppress the vote of citizens of demographics that typically cast their ballots heavily for Democratic candidates.

Michael Van Sickler at the Tampa Bay Times reports:

Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said she is getting no direction from state officials as to how to proceed in checking the other forms filed by Strategic Allied Consulting, which was fired last week.

In the past 45 days, Palm Beach County has logged 15,000 new voters. Since Aug. 1, more than 60,000 registration forms were filed, many for changes of address or updating signatures. Bucher said she doesn't know how many of those forms, now stored in a warehouse, were filled out by Strategic Allied Consulting.

"We're not sure if we need to go back and check," Bucher said Monday. "Obviously, it causes us great concern." Bucher was hoping to find out Monday if the state was going to instruct the counties with questionable forms to adopt a uniform method to review all forms filed by the firm.

Bucher is a Democrat. Her office has flagged more than 100 questionable registration forms from SAC. Nine other counties have discovered smaller numbers of apparently fraudulent forms. In Dade County, three questionable forms came from another major registerer of voters, the National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino civil rights advocate. But the magnitude is nothing like that with SAC.

SAC is owned by Nathan Sproul, a paid consultant to Mitt Romney. His firms have been previously accused of altering information on Democratic voter registration forms in several states. He ran voter registration efforts for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2004, for McCain-Palin in 2008 and Romney since late last year. Before firing SAC last week, the Republican Party of Florida had paid the firm $1.3 million for July and August, according to the Palm Beach Post. The Republican National Committee has also severed ties with SAC. It has paid $3.1 million to the firm through state organizations in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia, according to the Los Angeles Times.

On Monday, the Post published a letter to the governor from Ted Deutch, a Democratic representative from Florida's 19th congressional district:

Governor Scott, we are on the cusp of a Presidential election. Disturbing reports suggest that professionally coordinated voter fraud occurred in Florida that is potentially massive in scale. Your silence and inaction are shocking and hypocritical considering you have spent the last year in an expensive and highly controversial effort to purge legitimate citizens from our rolls in a supposed search to find “voter fraud.” Your efforts to purge 182,000 individuals from our voting rolls continued until we discovered that the list was nakedly partisan and so error-ridden that it contained the names of tens of thousands of legitimate voters, including small business owners and a decorated World War II hero. Now, when an actual voter fraud scheme has apparently been discovered in our state, there is neither room nor time for the partisan allegiances that typically guide your Administration’s actions.

Governor Scott, you now have an opportunity to prove that you care about voter fraud even if involves the Florida Republican Party, the Republican National Committee, and Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Faced with a clear and obvious attempt to muck with voter registration in ways that could, if widespread enough, upend the results of the election, it would hardly be out of place to think that Republicans who have been so ostentatiously attentive to this issue would be eager to get to the bottom of it. But, suddenly, cat's got their tongue.

•••

Ari Berman has a good summary of GOP voter suppression in Florida.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 11:05 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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