You are hereThe Brad Blog: New James O'Keefe Hoax Video Purports to Detail Fraudulent Cases of 'Voter Fraud' in New Hampshire
The Brad Blog: New James O'Keefe Hoax Video Purports to Detail Fraudulent Cases of 'Voter Fraud' in New Hampshire
-By Brad Friedman
January 12, 2012- Long ago discredited, federally convicted criminal, Rightwing con-artist, pretend journalist and accomplished liar James O'Keefe is pimping another secretly-taped and selectively-edited video sure to be a sensation on Fox "News" and at other Republican propaganda venues. It purports to show several voters showing up at polling places during New Hampshire's primary on Tuesday, giving the name of a recently deceased voter to poll workers, before procuring a ballot to vote under that name.
The video, about which O'Keefe lies on his own website, is certain to add more phony fuel to Republicans' long-unsupported claims that people are regularly impersonating dead people at the polling place in order to vote illegally, an allegation which has absolutely no evidence to support it. The aim of the video is clearly is to shore up GOP attempts to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions, meant to do little more than disenfranchise Democratic-leaning constituencies such as the elderly, minorities and student voters, under the fraudulent guise of curbing "voter fraud".
As New Hampshire does not require a Photo ID before one is allowed to cast their legal vote, O'Keefe's uses the video to try and create the impression that voting under the name of a recently deceased person is both simple and regularly done. It isn't. But that's his scam this week.
As usual, O'Keefe's video looks as if it represents something that is damning. That's his stock in fraudulent trade, and that's usually more than enough to reinforce the biases of the incurious who've been long-brainwashed, through a well-organized and well-funded GOP effort, into believing that something Rightwingers say is happening, certainly must be happening --- despite a dearth of evidence to show that it actually is happening.
The video was released Wednesday morning at the website of O'Keefe's ironically named Project Veritas organization. It was also published "exclusively" by Tucker Carlson's rightwing pretend news site, Daily Caller. Naturally, the websites of Andrew Breitbart, a fellow professional liar, as well as O'Keefe's employer and a co-conspirator on his phony ACORN "Pimp" Hoax videos, quickly followed suit in publicizing the same misleadingly-edited version of the video.
At the Project Veritas site, O'Keefe lies about the video, claiming at the end of his short article accompanying it, that "the unedited videos from part one of the Voter Fraud investigation" have been made available as well. They haven't. He has lied about that. Again. Moreover, as several other sites reported on Wednesday, it's possible that O'Keefe and his band of merry fraudsters have also broken both federal and state laws.
But setting his various lies and possible criminal actions aside for now, let's first look at the supposedly "unedited" version of the videos O'Keefe offers up, and then I'll be happy to dismantle the underpinnings of this ruse below it...
FAKE SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A NON-EXISTENT PROBLEM
The videos are meant to buttress the Republican push to implement polling place Photo ID restriction laws in states across the county, in the name of curbing massive "voter fraud" (only by Democrats, apparently, because in last week's GOP Iowa Caucuses, where Republicans set all of their own rules, they chose not to require photo ID of their own voters, even of those registering and voting for the first time on the same day).
By Republicans' own evidence, polling place impersonation by voters --- the only crime that could theoretically be prevented by such laws --- is exceedingly rare, if it even occurs at all. For example, from October 2002 to September 2005, using unprecedented resources to ferret out "voter fraud", the George W. Bush administration's own Dept. of Justice found "scant evidence" of the supposed criminal epidemic. In all, out of hundreds of millions of votes cast across the nation during that period, the DoJ successfully convicted just 23 people for "voter fraud". None of them were for polling place voter impersonation.
While there is almost no evidence that polling place voter fraud occurs, where it does, it is usually a case of election fraud, not voter fraud --- cased where election insiders, who would not be deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions, carry out the crimes, as in the infamous example of ballot box stuffing that is said to have occurred in Chicago in 1960.
In fact, by way of just one example underscoring how rare actual polling place voter fraud is, in South Carolina, where the state recently attempted to institute polling place Photo ID restrictions, the state has been unable to point to a single case of voter fraud which has ever occurred in the state that might have been prevented by a polling place Photo ID requirement. The same thing was true in Indiana, where the first such law was allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to stand in 2008.
At the same time, independent study after study has shown that such laws disproportionately affect minorities, elderly and students. For example, when the U.S. Dept. of Justice recently rejected South Carolina's Photo ID law, finding it in violation of the Voting Rights Act, federals officials found that by the state's own statistics, legally registered racial minorities were 20% more likely to be lacking the type of state-issued Photo ID required by the statute.