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Man in Virginia charged with tossing voter applications worked for vendor under investigation in Florida

A contractor hired by the Republican Party of Virginia -- and who had worked for a company now under investigation in Florida for voter registration fraud -- was arrested Thursday after allegedly trashing application forms.

colin_small.jpgColin Small, 31, (left) was charged with 13 felony and misdemeanor counts for throwing voter registration forms into a dumpster, according to a news release by the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.

The sheriff's office stated that Small was a “voter registration supervisor” working for Pinpoint, a firm hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to register voters. In Virginia, the registration deadline is Monday. It's not clear why Small threw the forms out. Unlike Florida, party affiliation is not included on Virginia applications. It is illegal, however, to throw out completed forms in both states.

According to the report, on Monday someone saw Small throw the applications out. The witness then retrieved them, wrote down his license plate, and contacted the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office. 

"There is no indication that this activity is widespread in our jurisdiction," the report stated. "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."

The case has ramifications here in Florida and elsewhere, however, because Pinpoint had been a subcontractor for Strategic Allied Consulting, a private firm that had been the only firm the Republican National Committee had tapped to register voters -- until reports emerged last monththat employees had been filing fraudulent applications. Representatives with the firm said they fired two employees who had turned in fraudulent forms in Lee and Palm Beach counties. Officials with SAC couldn't be reached Friday.  

The Republican Party of Florida fired the Strategic Allied Consulting, as did other states, including Virginia, Colorado and North Carolina, all swing states where the firm was registering voters. In Florida, the case is now being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is reviewing reports of fraudulent forms in a dozen counties.

It's not clear if Pinpoint had worked in Florida. Brian Burgess, spokesman for the Republican Party of Florida, said Friday he would check.

In Virginia, the state Democratic Party is asking the state to investigate if the arrest is part of a larger effort to disenfranchise voters. 

"This isn't about partisan politics, it's about integrity in our elections," said Brian Moran, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia. "Given their rhetoric about eliminating voter fraud, Republicans should welcome an investigation to prove that these disturbing incidents are isolated and not a central feature of the GOP campaign effort this year."

Pat Mullins, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, said in a statement that the case was isolated.

"The actions taken by this individual are a direct contradiction of both his training and explicit instructions given to him," the statement said. "The Republican Party of Virginia will not tolerate any action by any person that could threaten the integrity of our electoral process." 

--Mike Van Sickler