The Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Romney campaign hired firms run by Arizona Republican operative Nathan Sproul, to "register voters" in seven swing states. Sproul has previously been associated with allegations of fraudulent practices and dirty tricks, including impersonating the liberal group America Votes, collecting signatures to put third-party candidate Ralph Nader on the ballot, firing employees who brought in Democratic voter registrations, and discarding Democratic voter registration forms in Oregon and Nevada. In 2004 senators Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy called for a justice department investigation of Sproul's organizations. In 2006 George Bush invited Sproul and his wife to the White House Christmas party.
Tuesday evening, September 25, the Palm Beach Post reported that Palm Beach County elections supervisor Susan Bucher flagged as "questionable" 106 registraion applications from Sproul's firm. In apparent response, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) fired Sproul's "Strategic Allied Consultants," after having paid them $1.3 million.
Falsifying voter registration materials is a felony in Florida, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Two days later the Republican Party of North Carolina announced it was also canceling its contract with Strategic Allied Consultants. NBC News reported that the investigation of Sproul's firm had spread to six counties in Florida, and that the RNC was "severing its ties" to the company.
By Friday, September 28, reports of registration irregularities tied to Strategic Allied Consultants had spread to nine counties in Florida. The Florida Democratic Party called on state officials to revoke RPOF's right to register voters, saying that the party lacked the institutional controls to be trusted to register voters.
In addition to bogus registrations, including some containing the members of dead people, Sproul's firm may have been trying to disenfranchise registered voters by changing their information. Under recent Florida law, voters whose registration shows an address from a different area than their polling place must use a provisional ballot, which is less likely to be counted.
In late 2011 Sproul was hired as a consultant by the Romney campaign, to gather voter signatures during the Republican primaries, reportedly receiving at least $70,000.
By Saturday night the number of Florida counties reporting suspicious registration forms had grown to ten. The NY Times reported that some volunteers may have been paid per registration form returned, which is illegal in Florida.