What is happening to the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the state of Florida and in other important swing states concerning the issues of voter fraud and voter suppression is like a glaring, unexpected climax of a Shakespearean drama. For the past four years, the RNC has labored tirelessly and in some instances mysteriously to raise the issue of voter fraud in the national political debate. In addition, it has been leading the charge in many state legislatures to enact unprecedented voter suppression laws allegedly as a necessary remedy to protect the public from the cruelty of voter manipulation and mischief. But now the RNC itself stands naked and exposed for being the real culprit of substantial voter fraud combined with systematic voter suppression.
Strategic Allied Consulting is the company founded and head by Nathan Sproul, the former executive director and leader of the RNC in the state of Arizona. In 2012, Sproul was employed by the RNC and the Mitt Romney campaign to do voter work in five swing states: North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Nevada and Colorado. The public record shows that Sproul was paid more than $3 million this year by both the RNC and the Romney campaign to do voter registration drives in those five states. In Florida, from January through September 2012, Strategic Allied Consulting was paid $1.3 million.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has launched an immediate criminal investigation of Sproul and the Strategic Allied Consulting because of allegations of criminal acts of voter fraud across the state of Florida. There are allegations of dead people being registered to vote as well as numerous other voter registration infractions in attempt to increase Republican voter rolls. As soon as the news hit about the criminal allegations, the RNC’s national office fired Sproul and his firm.
Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, was quick to emphasize, “We take the integrity of elections extremely seriously. We have zero tolerance for even the mere allegation of impropriety.”
Of course that sounded good coming from the RNC in its attempt to distance itself from the more than 220 allegations in 10 different counties relating to Sproul in Florida. But the RNC’s prior actions and continued actions concerning this issue display a total contradictory set of facts and serious problems.
The RNC has had a longstanding working relationship with Nathan Sproul even though there were prior allegations of voter tampering and other irregularities dating back to 2004. There was no “zero tolerance” at that time. There was no fairness, no justice and no equality. There is a history of mischief and criminal conduct in this regard. Voter fraud, as the Republican Party is gleefully reminding people on large billboards in Ohio and in other states where minority voters are concentrated, is a criminal offense. Voter suppression is also illegal and needs to be challenged and forcefully stopped.
Sproul and his companies, which have been directly linked to voter suppression, trickery and fraud, have actually been paid more than $21.2 million by the Republican Party over the past nine years. Where is the zero tolerance then? The reality is there are ruthless conservative forces who want to distort, displace, and disfigure the outcome of the 2012 elections to satisfy their undemocratic fears, avarice, hatred and backward politics.
Our democracy needs to be protected from these acts of intimidation and injustice. Voting and the right to vote are sacred. We have fought too long and too hard to sit back and allow these regressive and illegal acts of voter manipulation and suppression to continue. Black Americans and all Americans have to demand justice and the equal protection of voting rights for all people. The next two weeks of campaigning leading up to the election on November 6 that will enhance or change the course of history. Let’s make sure that we all contribute to going forward instead of going backward.
Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is President of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network