BY JONATHAN VALANIA A Phoenixville man, hired by the GOP to register voters, was arrested today in Viginia for throwing a bag of voter registration forms in a dumpster in Harrisonburg, Virgnia on Monday — the last day you could register to vote in the upcoming election. Colin Small, 23, pictured above, a field director for the Republican National Committee and a former Congressional intern, was charged with eight felonies and five misdemeanors related to the incident. Reportedly, there were eight completed voter registration forms recovered from the dumpster. It all started on Monday, when Rob Johnson, a store manager in Harrisonburg, Virginia, spotted a man dumping a bag into the store dumpster and speeding off and went to investigate. He posted about what he found on Facebook:
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 who said they really didn’t know what to do in a case like this because its never happened before. The police took the forms and left. I’m really concerned because today is the last day in Virginia to register to vote and if these forms are tied up while trying to figure out what to do, will these people be allowed to vote???
Today police announced Small’s arrest. Here’s the press release:
October 18, 2012
The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in the investigation of voter registration fraud that began on the afternoon of October 15th when law enforcement received a citizen complaint of voter registration application forms being found in a dumpster behind a business in the City of Harrisonburg.
The following individual has been charged:
Mr. Colin Small, 31 [Police have corrected his age, he is 23 not 31 –Ed.] year old male of Phoenixville, PA
Voter Registration Supervisor employed by Pinpoint, an independent private organization contracted by the Republican Party of Virginia for purposes of general voter registration.
Copy of mugshot attached to this release
The following charges have been placed:
Four (4) counts of Destruction of Voter Registration Application, Class 1 Misdemeanor, Section 24.2-1002.01, Code of Virginia
Eight (8) counts of Disclosure of Voter Registration Application, Class 5 Felony, Section 24.2-1002.01, Code of Virginia
One (1) count of Obstruction of Justice, Class 1 Misdemeanor, Section 18.2-460(A), Code of Virginia
These charges are based upon lengthy consultation with and assistance from the Rockingham County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office regarding the investigation.
There is no indication that this activity was widespread in our jurisdiction; it appears to be very limited in nature but there is the possibility that additional charges may be filed in the future if it is deemed appropriate. There are no other details that we can release at this time, as this is still an active and ongoing criminal investigation. Anyone who may have a question regarding their own voter registration status is encouraged to contact the County Registrar’s office or the Sheriff’s Office.
At the time of his arrest Small was employed by Pinpoint, one of several recruiting firms used by Strategic Allied Consulting, a shadowy contractor hired by the RNC to conduct voter registration drives in eight key swing states. Strategic Allied Consulting is owned and operated by Nathan Sproul, a controversial long time GOP operative who used to run the Arizona Republican party and the Arizona Christian Coalition. Allegation of fraud and voter suppression have swirled around Sproul as far back as the 2004 presidential election. Up until March of this year, Sproul was a paid consultant to the Romney campaign. Strategic Allied was in the headlines late last month when the Florida Republican party announced it was canceling its contract with the voter registration firm in the wake of widespread fraud allegations. As of press time, seven Florida counties were investigating complaints of voter registration irregularities perpetrated by Strategic Allied employees. In April, Sproul formed Issue Advocacy Partners, which was paid $500,000 to work on Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s recall. Issue Advocacy Partners is currently hiring field workers for operations in as many as 30 states, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins released the following statement:
“We were alarmed by allegations recently made regarding an individual in Harrisonburg. The actions taken by this individual are a direct contradiction of both his training and explicit instructions given to him. The Republican Party of Virginia will not tolerate any action by any person that could threaten the integrity of our electoral process. The individual in question was fired immediately after we learned of his alleged actions. We are grateful to the local sheriff’s office and Registrar for acting so quickly to protect our democratic process and will fully cooperate with any requests made by them. However, since there is currently an investigation underway, we will refrain from any further comments until they have concluded their inquiry. “