News Release

Eyewitness Accounts of Actions by Republican-Funded Organization; Group Accused of Voter Registration Fraud in Three Swing States

Librarians in Oregon and Pennsylvania are providing eyewitness accounts of voter registration activities of Sproul and Associates, a group which has received $488,000 from the Republican National Committee.

Employees of Sproul and Associates in Nevada have said that they witnessed supervisors tearing up completed registration forms from Democrats. The Associated Press has reported that “a [Nevada] state judge refused to reopen registration for Clark County residents whose voter applications might have been destroyed by [the] Republican-funded group. … Officials at the Nevada secretary of state’s office, the state attorney general’s office and the FBI said they were looking into whether state or federal laws were broken.” The Oregon attorney general has also launched an investigation into the activities of the group.
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Holly McCullough is the special assistant to the director at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. She said today: “Sproul and Associates employees called us to request space outside our libraries to do non-partisan voter registration. In every initial conversation the firm said they were working for America Votes, which I researched and did find to be a group doing non-partisan registration. I agreed to allow the group to set up at the libraries but asked them to confirm that they would be doing no issue advocacy and that the registration [would] remain strictly non-partisan. They agreed completely with this. However, soon after the temporary workers they hired showed up at our Woods Run location I received a call from Ryan Hughes, the location manager, saying customers had complained about the behavior of the canvassers. Hughes said a customer came in the library Sept. 7 and said ‘There’s this person out there asking me who I was voting for.’ We also had the same complaint from a customer at another location. Upon contacting Sproul and Associates they apologized and said that they were doing ‘market research’ at some locations but that they would make sure that it stopped. I was so concerned [about] these complaints that I did further research and found out that Sproul and Associates is absolutely not working for America Votes and is in fact a Republican-funded partisan organization. … At that time I asked again what organization they were working for and they said ‘America Votes.’ I then asked them to give me the contact information for that organization. After being put on hold someone from the office came back and said to me that ‘America Votes is a project of Sproul and Associates originating from this office. [pause] There is a partisan organization with that same name.'”

Meghan O’Flaherty is headquarters library manager for Jackson County Library Services in Oregon. She said today: “On September 9, Sproul and Associates faxed a letter to the library on Sproul and Associates letterhead. It said: ‘To Whom It May Concern: Our firm has been contracted to help coordinate a national non-partisan voter registration drive, America Votes! in several states across the nation. … We would like to be able to register people to vote in front of your location(s). … We will equally register all those who wish to register to vote.’ The letter was signed by Sue Noel and Gary Bae of Sproul and Associates. Before granting permission I wanted to make sure that this was truly a non-partisan voter registration drive, so I did a Google search on ‘America Votes!’ and found, a coalition of many groups including the NAACP,, the Sierra Club, etc. Groups which are usually associated with support for liberal or Democratic Party issues. At this point I became suspicious of the ‘non-partisan’ part of the letter, but also wondered why the letter I received hadn’t come from the Oregon coordinator of America Votes instead of a firm in Arizona. So I e-mailed Kevin Looper, the Oregon coordinator [for America Votes], to ask if this letter had truly come from America Votes and if they had contracted with Sproul and Associates. Mr. Looper wrote back, saying: ‘… To my knowledge, there is no firm commissioned to do voter registration on our behalf. … ‘ Three other Oregon libraries [also] said they had also been contacted by Sproul and Associates. Cindy Gibbon from Multnomah County said that when she was contacted Sproul and Associates were calling their effort ‘Project America Votes.'”
Background Information:

The Los Angeles Times reported on October 14, 2004: “Oregon’s attorney general opened a criminal investigation Wednesday into allegations that Democratic voter registration forms were destroyed or discarded by a political consulting firm working for the Republican National Committee. The allegations involve a voter registration drive conducted by Sproul and Associates, a Phoenix-based consulting organization that was hired by the Republican National Committee earlier this year and is headed up by the former executive director of the Arizona Republican Committee, Nathan Sproul.”

Nathan Sproul’s group has received at least $488,000 from the RNC, according to the Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics. The group operated under the names America Votes or Project America Votes. There already is a voter registration organization named America Votes, which says it represents a coalition of groups with a combined membership of 20 million people. An associate editor of the Oregonian, David Sarasohn, wrote on October 17 that “Nathan Sproul then said that he was just using the name, and that he was surprised to learn that there was another America Votes. That’s like a new sneaker company saying it didn’t realize the name ‘Nike’ was taken. … A canvasser in Oregon said that he’d been instructed to accept registrations only from Republicans, and that he ‘might’ destroy those from Democrats. In Nevada, Eric Russell, a former employee of the Sproul operation, filed an affidavit saying he was told to ask prospective voters their choice for president, and not to register those not supporting President Bush. ‘I personally witnessed my supervisor … destroy completed registration forms …,’ said Russell. The destroyed forms were Democrats’. … Russell reportedly provided Nevada authorities with some torn-up registration forms retrieved from the company garbage.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167