January 11, 2012 by David K. Sutton
James O’Keefe: A Voter Fraud Stunt By A Paranoid Wingnut
You may remember James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who exposes – what he believes to be – injustices by video recording stunts and scripted encounters with organizations like Acorn and NPR. The latest stunt is an attempt by his allies to vote in the New Hampshire Primary using false names.
It was one of the few — if not the only — coordinated efforts to attempt in-person voter fraud, and it was pulled off by affiliates of conservative activist James O’Keefe at polling places in New Hampshire Tuesday night. All of it part of an attempt to prove the need for voter ID laws that voting rights experts say have a unfair impact on minority voters.
Now election 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.
Election law expert Rick Hasen, who writes the Election Law Blog, joked in an email to TPM that O’Keefe’s team should “next show how easy it is to rob a bank with a plastic gun.”
I look at a story like this and I can’t help but be sad about the amount of human effort that is wasted on issues that emerge from the mind of paranoid wingnuts. Just because you can dream it up doesn’t mean it’s a real problem. Just because you can prove something is possible doesn’t mean it’s a problem in the real world. James O’Keefe represents, in pure form, the paranoid right-wing mind.
The reality is that voter fraud is not a major problem, in fact it’s hardly a problem at all. The “voter fraud” that O’Keefe uncovered at Acorn was actually voter “registration” fraud. The problem at Acorn was that people got paid by how many voters they registered. So naturally some people would take advantage of that situation and register their dog, their cat or even Mickey Mouse. But voter registration fraud is not the same thing as voter fraud. Not even close. In this particular case it represents one or more people trying to make an extra buck and not a coordinated effort to influence an election. Mickey Mouse may have registered to vote, but there is no evidence he cast a ballot.
Sorry James, the only voter fraud committed in New Hampshire was by your group of paranoid, delusional attention seekers.