I normally try my best to ignore the latest
Blair Witch film sting from conservative provocateur James O'Keefe, he of ACORN and Planned Parenthood fame. But O'Keefe's new gotcha video unfortunately dips its toes into my beat, so I'll briefly grant him some of the media attention he craves.
O'Keefe sent his lackeys to New Hampshire earlier this week to collect ballots on behalf of now-deceased registered voters. The video shows a string of instances where members of his group Project Veritas headed to a polling location and deceived poll workers on their identity. Once the ballot was procured, they would express befuddlement that they were not required to present a photo ID and awkwardly stumble back to retrieve their IDs despite the protestations of the poll workers.
Ignoring the snooze value of the ten-minute film (the repeated script becomes crystal clear just a minute in), it also doesn't prove the claims made by Republicans to justify their restrictive voting measures. It's true that someone truly motivated could likely scan the obituary pages and pose as individuals who passed away the week prior to an election. But it's highly unlikely that anyone goes through all of that effort just to lend their favorite candidate a few extra votes; it would be a Herculean task to cast enough fraudulent votes to change the outcome of most elections, and it would likely leave a trail. That's been reinforced when academics actually study the trends and find little evidence of this kind of voter fraud.
O'Keefe may run into legal trouble for the latest stunt. TPM's Ryan Reilly rounded up legal experts who think the actions documented in the video likely violate federal law, which bans the procurement—not just the casting—of a fraudulent ballot. One member of Project Veritas actually fled a polling place before the police could arrive after a poll worker recognized the name of the deceased person that was being impersonated, a moment O'Keefe shockingly chose to omit from his final presentation. Now the Republican mayor of Manchester is saying, "They should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." O'Keefe's past videos have been criticized for selective editing to prove their point, but it looks like he finally crossed a new legal line.
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