The Republican Party of Florida is dumping a firm it paid more than $1.3 million to register new voters, after Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher flagged 106 “questionable” registration applications turned in by the contractor this month. Bucher asked the state attorney’s office to review the applications “in an abundance of caution” because she said her staff had questions about similar-looking signatures, missing information and wrong addresses on the forms. The state GOP hired Strategic Allied Consultants of Glen Allen, Va., for “voter registration services” and get-out-the-vote activities. The firm got identical payments of $667,598 in July and August. “When we learned today about the instances of potential voter registration fraud that occurred in Palm Beach County, we immediately informed the Republican National Committee that we were terminating the contract with the voter registration vendor we hired at their request because there is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida,” said RPOF Executive Director Mike Grissom late Tuesday. An employee of the company said no one was available to comment Tuesday evening.
Bucher said some of the applications she questioned were for new voter registrations while others were for address or party affiliation changes or requests for new voter cards, Bucher said. Bucher said she gave copies of the applications to State Attorney Peter Antonacci and Chief Assistant State Attorney Paul Zacks at a meeting Monday. Zacks confirmed the meeting but said he could not comment on whether there is an investigation.
Willfully submitting false voter registration information, or altering information on an application without the applicant’s consent is a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Florida law requires political parties and other groups or individuals who collect voter registration applications to register with the Florida Division of Elections as “Third Party Voter Registration Organizations.” People collecting applications for family members are exempt.