How Republicans Buy Voters. And Votes.

Mark Jacoby aka Star Petition Services is still going strong here in California, and he's operating in a fashion true to the form that got him a smack

Mark Jacoby aka Star Petition Services is still going strong here in California, and he's operating in a fashion true to the form that got him a smack on the wrist and 30 days of CalTrans service last year, but he's not the only one. Why isn't anyone outraged about this?

Since I first wrote about Jacoby and his bogus voter slamming, the Orange County Register has gone digging. Guess what they found? Yep, more evidence of a focused effort to use the petition to add a marijuana legalization initiative as a pathway to add more voters to Republican Party rolls.

Since mid-March, at least 99 written complaints have been submitted to state elections officials by Orange County residents who say they were registered to vote Republican without their consent. The Register found an additional 74 voters who said they were duped or coerced into registering to vote as a Republican by signature gatherers who initially asked them to sign petitions for causes like legalizing marijuana, fighting cancer or cleaning up beaches.

California Democrats are calling on the US Attorney to investigate, as they should. The very same people who demonized ACORN and accused them of voter fraud are the ones actually committing voter fraud for $8 bucks per registration.

Their scheme is pretty simple. They approach people about to enter a WalMart or Target store and ask them to sign a petition to put the marijuana legalization measure on the ballot. When someone agrees to sign the petition, they also ask them to fill out a voter registration card just to make sure their current address is correct in Sacramento. What they fail to disclose, and what most people don't notice, is that they've just signed a card changing their party affiliation to the Republican party.

From December 2009 through March 2010, the California Republican Party paid Grassroots Outreach, LLC nearly $675,000 for "voter registration services".

Who is Grassroots Outreach, LLC?

The California Corporations database indicates that Grassroots Outreach, LLC: established in California on June 11, 2008 via a third-party registration agent, C T Corporation System. C T Corporation System is also the agent for legal process. The registered address is 1232 Q St., Sacramento, CA 95811. The third-party registrant leaves the true ownership in question, but follow along with me anyway.

Nathan Sproul, a Republican political operative with a long and storied history of voter suppression and voter fraud accusations, has an Arizona company called Sproul Grassroots Mobilization, LLC. The mailing address is 80 E Rio Salado Pkwy #814, Tempe, AZ.

On June 18, 2009 the Golden State Voter Registration Project paid $50,000 to Grassroots Outreach, LLC. The address on the check was 80 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Suite 814, Tempe, AZ 85281, and the stated purpose for the payment was "voter registration services." The reported mailing address is Nathan Sproul's office, and the registered address for Sproul Grassroots Mobilization, LLC. (More on the Golden State Voter Registration Project donors and expenses here.)

The mailing address for the California payment to Grassroots Mobilization LLC is 1317 N. San Fernando Blvd, #175, Burbank, CA 91504. That address is a Pak-N-Ship store with a post office box rental service. The main offices of the California Republican Party are located about six blocks down at 1903 W. Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91506.

If we had access to corporate records, I'd be willing to bet we could draw a straight, clear, unquestionable line between Star Petition Services and Grassroots Outreach, LLC. After all, Jacoby and Sproul have a long history of doing business together.

California's politics are being run off the rail by this kind of activity. The initiative process is completely broken because Republicans are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put signatures they bought on ballot initiative petitions and voter registration cards. We seriously cannot afford to let this go unnoticed if we ever hope to have elections that truly are fair and free.

California is not Iraq. The United States is not Afghanistan. We either stand for clean, fair elections where one vote counts as one vote, or we let this kind of activity suppress the vote and the will of the people. I guarantee you this much: If it's going on here, it's ramping up nationwide.

It's really past time for us to take our country back. Why isn't the media breaking this news like it matters? It's the core of our democracy.

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