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James O'Keefe: Investigating Voter Fraud, or Just a Fraud?

Sunday, 12 February 2012 04:06 By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | News Analysis
James OKeefe Investigating Voter Fraud or Just a Fraud

James O'Keefe in a booking photo released by U.S. Department of Justice. (The New York Times)

James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators at his ironically named Project Veritas outfit have another new video in their "Voter Fraud Investigation" series out. So that means, naturally, they're misleading the public again.

This time, O'Keefe's video portends to show some of his courageous, unnamed and unseen cohorts at various voter registration centers in Minnesota, asking whether they can have voter registration forms to take home to "Thomas Brady" and "Timothy Tebow", so they can register them to vote.

The unseen voices are heard asking the helpful public clerks whether ID is necessary for those folks to register to vote. They are told that ID is not necessary in order for them to submit registration forms.

You'll recall that with O'Keefe's previous video --- in which they committed polling place voter fraud during the New Hampshire primary in order to "prove" that polling place voter fraud exists in the Granite State, despite no more than, at best, two known incidents of it over the past decade in the entire state --- he claimed: "Unlike the establishment media, Project Veritas works to release full, unedited versions of its investigations and stories," before he then linked to a video purporting to be the "full, unedited version" of his New Hampshire "investigation" videos. What he linked to, however, wasn't the "full, unedited version" of those videos, as they failed to show, among other things, the (at least) one incident in which one of his partners was chased out of the polling place. In other words, O'Keefe lied. That's what he does.

So I don't know if he has released an "unedited" version this time or not. I'm currently on the road and don't have enough time for his idiocy as is, so I haven't checked to see if there's another version of this. But let's go ahead and presume, for the moment, that the following edited version accurately-ish represents what happened when he sent his people into Minnesota voter registration offices...

Okay. Now let's dismantle O'Keefe's latest horse shit...

 

There are, essentially, two claims O'Keefe is hoping to illustrate here, as part of his Republican Party's years-long effort to force disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters, purportedly to combat their baseless claims of an epidemic of "voter fraud". You'll be stunned to learn that O'Keefe is being entirely dishonest in his latest propaganda in support of this GOP voter suppression effort.

The facts are that some 21 million legal American voters lack the state-issued Photo ID required under the measures O'Keefe is hoping to support here. And it's also a fact that those who lack such ID are disproportionately Democratic-leaning voters such as minorities, the elderly and students. For example, while 10% of the general voting public lack state-issued Photo ID, some 25% of African-Americans don't have it, and stand to be disenfranchised entirely under such laws. That's why he and his fellow Republicans are pushing for these new laws, as implemented since 2010 in nearly a dozen states where the GOP controls both the legislature and the executive branch.

In his latest video, O'Keefe two illustrated claims are: 1) No ID is needed to register to vote in Minnesota and 2) After registering without an ID, one could subsequently vote fraudulently via absentee ballot.

Both of those claims are, by and large, true-ish --- at least in Minnesota, though in many other states as well. But there are two key points, one for each of his claims, that O'Keefe fails to mention in the disingenuous video.

1) While one can indeed register to vote (in most places) without showing an ID via third party, what O'Keefe fails to mention in his video, is that the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 already requires those who do not register in person to provide ID when voting for the first time at the polling place. In other words, if "Thomas Brady" registers to vote via the registration forms received via O'Keefe's video, he would be required, by federal law, to show an ID the first time he votes in person at the polling place. That is already federal law. O'Keefe must have forgotten to mention that in his latest "Voter Fraud Investigation" video.

2) To work around the above point in order to commit voter fraud, one could, after committing a felony by fraudulently filling out a voter registration form, go ahead and commit another felony by voting via absentee ballot without having to show an ID, as also discussed in the video (at least in states which allow easy, "no-excuse" access for that type of voting.) It would, indeed, be possible, in this way, to commit voter fraud, if one wished to risk the very high penalties for committing yet another felony.What O'Keefe fails to mention in his video, however, is that the polling place Photo ID restrictions that Republicans have been pushing for, and which this video is obviously meant to support, would do nothing to prevent this absentee voter fraud!

So what have we learned here? O'Keefe, an accomplished scam artist and federal criminal who pretends to be a "journalist", is happy to give misleading information suggesting that one can register and subsequently vote anytime, anywhere, with no ID ever required. That is false. An ID would be required, by federal law, at the polling place under his scenario in every state inthe union, but he dishonestly fails to mention that.

He almost certainly knows about that law, which is likely why his co-conspirators inquire about absentee voting, which a dedicated felon might exploit --- and risk imprisonment and hefty fines --- in order to try and work around that existing federal law. While that's just one of the reasons why, as we have long argued here, absenteeVote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, unless it's really necessary, the fact is, that type of voter fraud would not be prevented by the polling place Photo ID measures which O'Keefe and fellow Republicans are pushing.

The only thing that would come about under such laws is that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of legal American voters would be entirely disenfranchised, and unable to cast their legal votes.

The only type of voter fraud which could possibly be deterred by such measures would be in-person, polling place impersonation, which is so rare that even George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice was unable to find even a single instance of it, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during the years from 2002 to 2005, when they placed unprecedented resources into ferreting out such instances of voter fraud.

So it's yet another fail-fail for the miscreant O'Keefe, as usual, even as he and his band of swindlers are likely facing a criminal investigation for voter fraud in the state of New Hampshire, where the Republican mayor of Manchester has called for them to be "arrested and prosecuted", and where more than 100,000 citizens have recently signed a petition calling for the exact same thing.

All of that, even as Sec. of State Charlie White (R), the chief election official in Indiana, the first state in the union to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions, was found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud charges over the weekend (which were not prevented by the state's Photo ID law!); Mitt Romney, the GOP's front-runner for the 2012 Presidential nomination, appears to have committed voter fraud himself in the state of Massachusetts; and contender Newt Gingrich's campaign is facing a criminal investigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia for ballot petition fraud after Gingrich himself admitted his campaign turned in some 1,500 fraudulent signatures in his failed attempt to qualify for the Virginia GOP's Presidential primary this year on Super Tuesday.

For some reason, O'Keefe has failed to mention --- or "investigate" --- any of those very recent, very real, not made-up-out-of-whole-cloth voter fraud issues in his series of videos claiming to be "Voter Fraud Investigations".

So, hmm...who's really the fraud here?

Update: Well, guess what? Even with this dismantling, it looks like we gave O'Keefe far more credit than he deserves. His latest video scam is even more fraudulent than we'd originally reported. Details now here...

Brad Friedman

Brad Friedman is an investigative blogger, journalist and broadcaster. Frequent contributor to Salon, Truthout and many other sites, publisher and creator of The BRAD BLOG (BradBlog.com) and the host of KPFK/Pacifica Radio's The BradCast. Follow him on Twitter @TheBradBlog.


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James O'Keefe: Investigating Voter Fraud, or Just a Fraud?

Sunday, 12 February 2012 04:06 By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | News Analysis
James OKeefe Investigating Voter Fraud or Just a Fraud

James O'Keefe in a booking photo released by U.S. Department of Justice. (The New York Times)

James O'Keefe and his band of co-conspirators at his ironically named Project Veritas outfit have another new video in their "Voter Fraud Investigation" series out. So that means, naturally, they're misleading the public again.

This time, O'Keefe's video portends to show some of his courageous, unnamed and unseen cohorts at various voter registration centers in Minnesota, asking whether they can have voter registration forms to take home to "Thomas Brady" and "Timothy Tebow", so they can register them to vote.

The unseen voices are heard asking the helpful public clerks whether ID is necessary for those folks to register to vote. They are told that ID is not necessary in order for them to submit registration forms.

You'll recall that with O'Keefe's previous video --- in which they committed polling place voter fraud during the New Hampshire primary in order to "prove" that polling place voter fraud exists in the Granite State, despite no more than, at best, two known incidents of it over the past decade in the entire state --- he claimed: "Unlike the establishment media, Project Veritas works to release full, unedited versions of its investigations and stories," before he then linked to a video purporting to be the "full, unedited version" of his New Hampshire "investigation" videos. What he linked to, however, wasn't the "full, unedited version" of those videos, as they failed to show, among other things, the (at least) one incident in which one of his partners was chased out of the polling place. In other words, O'Keefe lied. That's what he does.

So I don't know if he has released an "unedited" version this time or not. I'm currently on the road and don't have enough time for his idiocy as is, so I haven't checked to see if there's another version of this. But let's go ahead and presume, for the moment, that the following edited version accurately-ish represents what happened when he sent his people into Minnesota voter registration offices...

Okay. Now let's dismantle O'Keefe's latest horse shit...

 

There are, essentially, two claims O'Keefe is hoping to illustrate here, as part of his Republican Party's years-long effort to force disenfranchising polling place Photo ID restrictions on voters, purportedly to combat their baseless claims of an epidemic of "voter fraud". You'll be stunned to learn that O'Keefe is being entirely dishonest in his latest propaganda in support of this GOP voter suppression effort.

The facts are that some 21 million legal American voters lack the state-issued Photo ID required under the measures O'Keefe is hoping to support here. And it's also a fact that those who lack such ID are disproportionately Democratic-leaning voters such as minorities, the elderly and students. For example, while 10% of the general voting public lack state-issued Photo ID, some 25% of African-Americans don't have it, and stand to be disenfranchised entirely under such laws. That's why he and his fellow Republicans are pushing for these new laws, as implemented since 2010 in nearly a dozen states where the GOP controls both the legislature and the executive branch.

In his latest video, O'Keefe two illustrated claims are: 1) No ID is needed to register to vote in Minnesota and 2) After registering without an ID, one could subsequently vote fraudulently via absentee ballot.

Both of those claims are, by and large, true-ish --- at least in Minnesota, though in many other states as well. But there are two key points, one for each of his claims, that O'Keefe fails to mention in the disingenuous video.

1) While one can indeed register to vote (in most places) without showing an ID via third party, what O'Keefe fails to mention in his video, is that the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 already requires those who do not register in person to provide ID when voting for the first time at the polling place. In other words, if "Thomas Brady" registers to vote via the registration forms received via O'Keefe's video, he would be required, by federal law, to show an ID the first time he votes in person at the polling place. That is already federal law. O'Keefe must have forgotten to mention that in his latest "Voter Fraud Investigation" video.

2) To work around the above point in order to commit voter fraud, one could, after committing a felony by fraudulently filling out a voter registration form, go ahead and commit another felony by voting via absentee ballot without having to show an ID, as also discussed in the video (at least in states which allow easy, "no-excuse" access for that type of voting.) It would, indeed, be possible, in this way, to commit voter fraud, if one wished to risk the very high penalties for committing yet another felony.What O'Keefe fails to mention in his video, however, is that the polling place Photo ID restrictions that Republicans have been pushing for, and which this video is obviously meant to support, would do nothing to prevent this absentee voter fraud!

So what have we learned here? O'Keefe, an accomplished scam artist and federal criminal who pretends to be a "journalist", is happy to give misleading information suggesting that one can register and subsequently vote anytime, anywhere, with no ID ever required. That is false. An ID would be required, by federal law, at the polling place under his scenario in every state inthe union, but he dishonestly fails to mention that.

He almost certainly knows about that law, which is likely why his co-conspirators inquire about absentee voting, which a dedicated felon might exploit --- and risk imprisonment and hefty fines --- in order to try and work around that existing federal law. While that's just one of the reasons why, as we have long argued here, absenteeVote-by-Mail is a terrible idea, unless it's really necessary, the fact is, that type of voter fraud would not be prevented by the polling place Photo ID measures which O'Keefe and fellow Republicans are pushing.

The only thing that would come about under such laws is that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of legal American voters would be entirely disenfranchised, and unable to cast their legal votes.

The only type of voter fraud which could possibly be deterred by such measures would be in-person, polling place impersonation, which is so rare that even George W. Bush's own Dept. of Justice was unable to find even a single instance of it, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during the years from 2002 to 2005, when they placed unprecedented resources into ferreting out such instances of voter fraud.

So it's yet another fail-fail for the miscreant O'Keefe, as usual, even as he and his band of swindlers are likely facing a criminal investigation for voter fraud in the state of New Hampshire, where the Republican mayor of Manchester has called for them to be "arrested and prosecuted", and where more than 100,000 citizens have recently signed a petition calling for the exact same thing.

All of that, even as Sec. of State Charlie White (R), the chief election official in Indiana, the first state in the union to implement polling place Photo ID restrictions, was found guilty of three counts of felony voter fraud charges over the weekend (which were not prevented by the state's Photo ID law!); Mitt Romney, the GOP's front-runner for the 2012 Presidential nomination, appears to have committed voter fraud himself in the state of Massachusetts; and contender Newt Gingrich's campaign is facing a criminal investigation in the Commonwealth of Virginia for ballot petition fraud after Gingrich himself admitted his campaign turned in some 1,500 fraudulent signatures in his failed attempt to qualify for the Virginia GOP's Presidential primary this year on Super Tuesday.

For some reason, O'Keefe has failed to mention --- or "investigate" --- any of those very recent, very real, not made-up-out-of-whole-cloth voter fraud issues in his series of videos claiming to be "Voter Fraud Investigations".

So, hmm...who's really the fraud here?

Update: Well, guess what? Even with this dismantling, it looks like we gave O'Keefe far more credit than he deserves. His latest video scam is even more fraudulent than we'd originally reported. Details now here...

Brad Friedman

Brad Friedman is an investigative blogger, journalist and broadcaster. Frequent contributor to Salon, Truthout and many other sites, publisher and creator of The BRAD BLOG (BradBlog.com) and the host of KPFK/Pacifica Radio's The BradCast. Follow him on Twitter @TheBradBlog.


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