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Let's get this out of the way: James O'Keefe, the wannabe gotcha journalist who can't hide his punk stupidity, is a big, fat liar. If he directs his hidden camera at you, you can be sure that what turns up will be wildly edited and quickly discredited.
O'Keefe loves to go after liberal stalwarts: ACORN, NPR, voting and democracy. You know, basically things that aren't at all threats to anything other than the mindset that we're a center-right nation. In his latest stunt, he tried to "prove" that voting fraud was rampant, with dead people actually voting in the New Hampshire primary. Except....
With his last set of videos largely seen as meaningless and pathetic, his fundraising in shambles, and his allies leaving him in disgust, O'Keefe clearly hopes to press this non-issue to revive his standing in the conservative movement. As always, the Daily Caller is happy to help out, already trumpeting the "bombshell video" that they received "exclusively" from O'Keefe.
In the service of this aim, O'Keefe and associate Spencer Meads visited a number of polling locations during the January 10 New Hampshire primaries armed with hidden cameras. At each polling location, the videographer in question would approach a poll worker who was checking in voters and ask the poll worker if a recently deceased voter's name is on the rolls. When the poll worker, assuming that the right-wing operative is presenting themselves as that person, attempts to give them a ballot, the videographer says that they don't have their ID and leaves.[..]
But O'Keefe's claim [of rampant fraud] aside, there is simply no evidence that such fraud occurs more often then, say, community organizations are asked to help set up child sex rings. In a 2007 report, the Brennan Center for Justice reported that there are a "handful" of cases when votes have actually cast in the names of the deceased, compared to thousands of such allegations that ultimately proved fruitless.
Again, this whole conservative bugaboo demanding Voter ID to prevent voter fraud is a solution to a non-existent problem, and one that has been shown to actually prevent legitimate voting from taking place. But convicted parolee O'Keefe may have reached too far:
[E]lection law experts tell TPM that O’Keefe’s allies could face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring ballots under false names, and that his undercover sting doesn’t demonstrate a need for voter ID laws at all.
Federal law bans not only the casting of, but the “procurement” of ballots “that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held.”
Hamline University law professor David Schultz told TPM that there’s “no doubt” that O’Keefe’s investigators violated the law.
“In either case, if they were intentionally going in and trying to fraudulently obtain a ballot, they violated the law,” Schultz said. “So right off the bat, what they did violated the law.”
The NH Attorney General's office and the US Attorneys' office in NH have both issued statements that they are launching investigations. Unfortunately, it looks at first blush that the NH AG's office is focusing more on O'Keefe's allegation of the ease of voter fraud than the fraud that O'Keefe himself is committing.
And if that is the case, there needs to be pushback immediately. O'Keefe deserves no such legitimization of his work with his history. Luckily, there are some in NH that see that clearly:
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.
Actually, it doesn't happen, Mayor Gatsas. The video shows no votes cast. But it sure shows O'Keefe and his helpers trying to interfere with the voting process, which is a Class D Felony. Not exactly something someone on parole would want to be charged with, is it?
Actually, the would-be voter gets his hands on ballots only nine times in the 10-minute, seven-second Project Veritas video.
In one, the clerk directly asks the person if he is the man listed on the checklist.
At that point, the person said he was just checking to see if the checklist designates the voter as deceased.
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.
That instance is not on the video.