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Virginia Republicans fire voter registration group

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-28 06:57:10-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The Republican Party of Virginia has terminated its relationship with Strategic Allied Consulting over allegations of potential voter registration fraud in Florida.

"The Republican Party of Virginia takes any threat to the voting process very seriously. Following an alleged incident by an employee of Strategic Allied Consultants, we have terminated our contract with them effective immediately," Chairman Pat Mullins of the Republican Party of Virginia said in a statement to CBS 6. 

The Virginia Republican Party, according to filings by the Federal Election Commission obtained by CBS 6, paid Strategic Allied Consulting $500,000 this summer to register voters in Virginia.

This week, the Florida Republican Party, fired the group over reports of potential voter fraud in Palm Beach County, Florida.

“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. There is no place for voter registration fraud in Florida,” Mike Grissom, Executive Director of the Florida Republican Party, told CBS 6 in a statement.

Strategic Allied Consulting has released a statement of their own regarding the events in  Florida.

"Strategic has a zero tolerance policy for breaking the law. Accordingly, once we learned of the irregularities in Palm Beach County, we were able to trace all questionable cards to one individual and immediately terminated our working relationship with the individual in question. Strategic is committed to following the letter of the law and will continue to cooperate with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to ensure that this issue is resolved."

That statement is from the group's lawyer Fred Petti.

Chesterfield County's Chief Election official told CBS 6 News he was not surprised to hear of the group's problems in Florida after complaints he investigated personally.

"They were responsible for people that appeared in some libraries  in Chesterfield County, supposedly to conduct voter registration drives, but they were asking voters for whom they are going to vote," said Larry Haake, General Registrar for Chesterfield County.

Haake said he informed the Republican Party of the incident when it occurred.

Haake reminded all political parties that it is a crime to throw away voter registration forms if the individual supports an opposing party.

While there is no evidence Strategic Allied Consulting did that in Virginia, Haake encourages all voters to be mindful as parties beef up recruiting efforts ahead of the October 15 voter registration deadline.

Strategic Allied Consulting is, according to the FEC, based in Glen Allen, Virginia. When CBS 6 visited that address today the firm did not know who the group was.

Joe St. Georgewill continue to investigate this story. Stay with CBS 6 News and for the latest updates.