Librarian catches questionable voter registration effort
By The Associated Press
MEDFORD — An Arizona company claiming to be affiliated with the nonpartisan America Votes approached Oregon libraries about setting up voter registration booths.
But a Medford librarian checking on the request discovered that Sproul & Associates, Inc. of Phoenix was not affiliated with the national, nonpartisan group.
In fact, the group is a political consulting firm headed up by former Arizona state Republican Party executive director Nathan Sproul.
And as a result of librarian Megan O'Flaherty's inquiry, America Votes — which works to increase voter registration and education, said they will pursue legal options to get the Arizona group to stop using their name.
"This organization (Sproul) absolutely has nothing to do with America Votes,'' said Kevin Looper, the state organizing director for America Votes.
But the man behind Sproul & Associates says it was an innocent mistake.
"We were not trying to copy their name,'' said Nathan Sproul, owner of the consulting and management company. "All we were trying to do is register people to vote.''
He said his company, hired by a number of clients to register voters, came up with what he believed was a generic name. He said he had not heard of the original America Votes.
But Looper said that seemed unlikely.
"You'll have to forgive me for not finding it credible that they would not have heard of a group that is one of the largest in the country and is in every one of the 17 swing states and that could hardly be missed in any political circle,'' he told The Mail Tribune in Medford. "While we appreciate their word that they will cease and desist, we will want to see that in writing.''
The matter first surfaced when the Jackson County Library Services Central Library received a letter from Sproul & Associates, Inc. which began:
"Our firm has been contracted to help coordinate a national non-partisan voter registration drive, America Votes! in several states across the nation.''
The letter went on to ask if the company could register people to vote in front of the library.
Libraries in Multnomah County, Benton County and Washington County also had been contacted, said O'Flaherty.
Cindy Gibbon, senior library manager with the Multnomah County Library, said voter registration drives inside libraries must be non-partisan, because libraries are publicly funded and cannot appear to take sides with issues or parties.