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The Daily Tar Heel

Firm linked to NC accused of voter fraud

As the N.C. gubernatorial candidates debate voter ID laws, the issue has been highlighted by instances of potential voter fraud in the state coming to light.

Strategic Allied Consulting, which was working for Republican state parties across the country — including in North Carolina — to register voters, submitted suspicious ballots in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The N.C. GOP has since terminated its contract with the firm, said Marshall Tutor, elections investigator for the N.C. Board of Elections.

The party’s spokesman, Rob Lockwood, could not be reached for comment.

The Strategic Allied Consulting website claims it traced the questionable forms to one employee who was fired as soon as suspicions surfaced.

Tutor said county election boards are looking out for voter registration forms from Strategic Allied Consulting that might be fraudulent.

“They are scrutinizing those voter registration forms, they are red-flagging and we are investigating from there,” he said.

So far, the state board has identified about six questionable forms in N.C. from the firm — but many forms have not yet been processed.

These red flags can include missing required information, pre-printed information on forms and an unusual number of registrations for one address.

Tracy Reams, director of the Orange County Board of Elections, said in an email that Orange County receives many forms from voter registration drives and has been asked to report anything questionable to the state board.

Strategic Allied Consulting’s website states that the firm and its affiliates have registered more than 500,000 voters in more than 40 states since 2004. It claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy for violation of election law.

Bob Hall, executive director for Democracy North Carolina, a left-leaning voter advocacy organization in Durham, said the firm was involved in “shady practices” in the past, such as not turning in forms of those seeking to register as Democrats.

“It is a real concern that they would go ahead and hire those folks,” Hall said.

He said he hopes the Republican Party, which has been campaigning for stricter voter ID legislation, will not use this as a scare tactic to help justify these proposals.

Pat McCrory, the GOP gubernatorial candidate, has supported a state voter ID law. Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the Democratic candidate, is against one.

Hall said there are precautionary practices to protect people if fraudulent forms are submitted in their name.

These include mailing cards to verify the voter’s address and checking personal information. It is a felony to commit voter fraud.

Contact the desk editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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