Voter fraud and fraudulent wire-tapping are among the charges officials and experts say they’d like to see thrown at James O’Keefe and his gang of video thugs.
You may recall O’Keefe as the fellow who pled guilty to misdemeanor charges for his attempt to ensnare Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu in an O’Keefe style sting, or perhaps as the fellow who tried to set a female CNN reporter up on his Love Boat of Sex Toys Entrapment scheme (big time creepy).
O’Keefe is the hero conservative activist who repeatedly breaks the law in his attempts to ensnare people he disagrees with on just about anything he can. He’s targeted ACORN, NPR, and anyone else who offends his conservative sensibilities. Those sensibilities cause him to dress up in pimp outfits and dress a boat with sex toys in order to humiliate a reporter he doesn’t agree with. He’s a strange bird.
This time O’Keefe and his gang set out to show that voter fraud can occur, so they went to vote in the New Hampshire primaries using the names of dead people. They got busted and they face criminal prosecution for it. But, voter fraud!
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported this morning:
Officials in Nashua and Manchester said the filmmaker should be arrested.
“They should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. When I was in the Senate, I always heard, ‘This never happens.’ This is proof this happens,” said Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.
“People who pull stunts like this should be prosecuted,” Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron said.
See, it is already a crime to use a false name to receive a ballot, even if you don’t vote.
This is just one reason why most people would not attempt to vote fraudulently, but taken to its logical conclusion, any group that attempted this on a big enough scale to impact an election would have to be willing to face prison and would need massive coordination. One place you never see illegal immigrants is a place where the law hangs out, so O’Keefe just managed to explain why the Right’s fear of illegal immigrants voting fraudulently is illogical at best.
What O’Keefe proved is that people can obtain a ballot in the name of a dead person, but he also proved that poll workers ask questions that can land the person trying to vote fraudulently in big trouble. One of O’Keefe’s gang members fled the polling place when a poll worker asked more questions about the name they gave.
O’Keefe also proved that he doesn’t understand the law very well, as apparently his gang thinks that if they get the ballot but don’t vote, they haven’t violated the law. Wrong, wrong again.
Since O’Keefe and his gang also videotaped the poll workers without their knowledge or consent, they violated an additional law that prohibits the audio recording of a person without their consent.
Officials say they support some kind of voter ID requirements, but not the Voter ID law that the Governor already vetoed. What they really need to do is keep their voter id lists up to date.
The New Hampshire Attorney General is probing the laws and procedures after being alerted on Election Day about the incidents, in addition to seeing the “Project Veritas” (a misnomer if ever there were on– veritas meaning truth and the Veritas, the Goddess of Truth being the mother of Virtue in Roman mythology) video.
According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, O’Keefe lied about the number of ballots his gang obtained in a fund-raising email, saying they got 12 when they got 9. Their video also left out the incident when the poll worker busted them and they fled.
Watch the allegedly illegally recorded video here:
The New Hampshire Union Ledger recounts the instances where they did not get a ballot, starting with one where the O’Keefe gang member says he’s just checking to see if the dead person is on the list still.
In another, the dead person is not on the checklist, and the clerk encourages the person to register to vote.
Another time, the would-be voter left after poll workers started asking question about the name he gave, Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand said.
“It just so happens the ward moderator recognized the name as not being that person,” Normand said.
The moderator, Gloria Pilotte, asked to speak to the undercover voter to see if there was some mistake.
He left before they had a chance to speak. “He never got a ballot,” Normand said.
If the video had shown them fleeing after being busted, you can imagine that it would send quite a different message than it does in its current state, in which it implies that it is easy breezy to vote fraudulently.
But frankly, I’m glad that O’Keefe is showing us how Republicans could commit voter fraud on a wide scale, though clearly he is ignoring the larger problem of election fraud that Republicans have been under investigation for in several states (Ohio, California, etc). Media Matters pointed out that the real issue O’keefe’s video shows is a need to keep the voting rolls up to date, which is quite a different policy matter than voter ID laws meant to target Democrats via targeting minorities. The issue of voter impersonation occurs so rarely that South Carolina was unable to prove the need for its voter ID laws to the Department of Justice.
But of course, conservatives aren’t concerned about real voter fraud, because if they were they would make a big stink about their own officials who have been charged recently with voter fraud and they would also attempt to solve the real problems of faulty ballot protection measures as seen recently in Wisconsin during the state Supreme court race and election fraud as seen in 2004 in Ohio where the votes were redirected to a RNC server before being transferred back to the Secretary of State server to be counted.
It’s almost as if someone has an agenda to use O’Keefe to distract people from those investigations with the razzle-dazzle voter fraud show. Or maybe they’re trying to distract the public from the many Republican elected officials who face charges of voter fraud this year. Razzle-dazzle distract with the big show. In fact, Talking Points Memo is reporting that O’Keefe claims that a generous donation of $50,000.00 funded this latest foray into illegal behavior.
This is all nothing but a Big Show put on by clowns who have repeatedly broken the law in their ironic and puerile attempt to entrap ideological enemies. As Frank Askin told Talking Points Memo, we dare the bad actors in O’Keefe’s pretend army of activism to cast a vote fraudulently:
“I think it’s nonsense, nobody voted, and if they voted, they’re facing a five year jail sentence, and I think very few people would be willing to risk that,” of Frank Askin of Rutgers Law School told TPM. “I think the whole thing is bullshit, frankly. It’s another one of these O’Keefe bullshit actions. Let them cast a vote, see what happens.”
The only point O’Keefe has proven with this latest stint is that his gang of thugs are stupid enough to commit voter fraud by collecting a ballot under a false name. He has not proven that anyone else is that reckless or ignorant of the law. Should O’Keefe have the bad luck of finally being called to account for his illegal behavior, it might be harder for him to be used as a puppet of the 1% to distract and dazzle from prison. We shall see.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.