Colin Small, a 31-year-old man with ties to the GOP, was arrested Thursday by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office in west-central Virginia for allegedly throwing voter registration forms in a dumpster. Small has been charged with eight felonies and five misdemeanors in connection with the dumped forms.
According to his LinkedIn page, Small is a "grassroots field director" for the Republican National Committee, a position he has held for the last three months. But the Rockingham County Sheriff's press release suggests Small worked indirectly for the RNC, and was actually employed by Pinpoint, an independent company hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to help register voters.
The Republican Party of Virginia has already disavowed Small's actions. Party chairman Pat Mullins released a statement to NBC saying he was "alarmed by the allegations" and that the supposed form dumping was a "direct contradiction" of Small's training and instructions.
A request for comment from the Republican National Committee was not immediately returned.
Police were notified of the incident by Rob Johnson, a manager at a Tuesday Morning store in Harrisonburg, Va., who spotted the forms being thrown in the dumpster. Johnson chronicled what he saw on his Facebook page:
"I just saw a guy throw a bag of trash in my cardboard dumpster and speed off. I went to get the bag and throw it in the trash dumpster. In the bag was a folder containing FILLED OUT VIRGINIA VOTER REGISTRATION FORMS!! I called the Harrisonburg Registrars office and they sent the police... I'm really concerned because today is the last day in Virginia to register to vote."
Johnson's post was soon picked up by Democratic blogger Ben Tribbett, and has now spread across the liberal blogosphere. Bloggers at the DailyKos are worried that form dumping might be more widespread among members of the Republican Party.
Supposed voter suppression has become a major issue in the 2012 election, with Democrats alleging a number of times that Republicans have tried to suppress the vote of minorities and other Democratic voters through voter ID laws and other methods.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office reports that, in its jurisdiction, "there is no indication that this activity was widespread."
Update, 2:45 p.m.:
New information is emerging in the voter fraud case in Virginia. The Rockingham County Sheriff now says that Small is 23 years old, not 31, as originally reported. The sheriff’s office did not give a reason for the error. According to Small’s LinkedIn page, he graduated from Catholic University in Washington this year.
The LA Times is reporting that Small was hired by Strategic Allied Consulting prior to working for Pinpoint. Strategic Allied Consulting, an Arizona firm owned by Republican operative Nathan Sproul, was reportedly fired by the Republican party in early October after fraudulent registration forms were discovered. Sproul has been tied to numerous allegations of voter fraud in the past, though none have ever been proven. On Friday, a statement on the Strategic Allied Consulting website said it “has never tolerated even minimal violations of election law when registering voters.”
Update, 5:33 p.m.:
A source tells Whispers that Colin Small may have thrown out the voter registration forms because he made a mistake. Read about it here.
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