Magazine article American Libraries

Librarian Thwarts Voter-Registration Trickery

Magazine article American Libraries

Librarian Thwarts Voter-Registration Trickery

Article excerpt

A librarian in Medford, Oregon, has uncovered the real identity of a group masquerading as part of a nonprofit, nationwide voter-registration organization called America Votes. Looking into a fax sent to the Jackson County Central Library in September from a company called Sproul and Associates, Library Manager Meghan O'Flaherty discovered that the firm is a partisan, conservative consulting group based in the Phoenix area and headed by former Arizona State Republican Party Executive Director Nathan Sproul.

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O'Flaherty told American Libraries that the fax stated: "Our firm has been contracted to help coordinate a national nonpartisan voter registration drive, America Votes! in several states across the nation. We would like to be able to register people to vote in front of your location(s)." Before granting permission, O'Flaherty wanted to check that the group was truly nonpartisan, in compliance with library rules, and found through a Google search that America Votes is a coalition of liberal or Democratic organizations.

Suspicious, O'Flaherty e-mailed Kevin Looper, the Oregon organizing director for America Votes, who told her that Sproul and Associates had nothing to do with his organization. His e-mail reply stated: "This organization is absolutely not representing America Votes, and my national leadership is initiating action to get them to cease and desist representations that infringe upon our rights and mislead voters."

After that, O'Flaherty decided to alert other librarians on the Oregon Library online discussion list and discovered that three other libraries in the state had been contacted by the Sproul firm: Multnomah County, West Slope, and Corvallis-Benton County. …

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