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O'Keefe caricature
James O'Keefe caricature (DonkeyHotey)
James O'Keefe's New Hampshire stunt, having colleagues attempt to obtain primary ballots under the names of dead people, has some of the state's officials hopping mad.
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.

Whether or not there will be prosecutions is up in the air, but the state's attorney general has launched a "comprehensive review of state voting procedures." The U.S. Attorney for the state John Kacavas hadn't heard of the stunt yet, but said, "If it's true, it's troubling to me. [...] I'm certainly going to look into it."

O'Keefe's supposed justification for the stunt is relayed in what's arguably the real reason for the stunt, a fundraising appeal.

“With the eight-vote margin in the 2012 Iowa Caucus, it is clear that voter fraud can influence the outcome of an election and it is important to note that Project Veritas' team had the ability to cast more than a dozen votes in this latest investigation,” James O'Keefe said in a fundraising email.

Never mind that a caucus has very little to do with a private ballot regular primary, so the eight-vote margin in the Iowa caucus proves nothing, O'Keefe lied in that e-mail. Of the attempts to obtain ballots, it worked 9 times rather than 12 because poll workers did challenge some of the attempts.

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. [...]

That instance is not on the video, which can be found at

Project Veritas asked the New Hampshire Union Leader to email questions about the video, but did not respond.

Gee, what a surprise that they won't answer questions.

The prank does show that someone motivated to commit a voter fraud conspiracy could do it, but could hardly be effective. First, they have to go through recent obituaries. They can only use the names of the recently deceased to have any hope of success, because dead people will be taken off of voters rolls. Then they have to go to the city or town records to try to find out if their target was actually registered to vote. Then they have to figure out what precinct that person would vote in, and then they have to take a chance that the poll workers in that precinct don't know that voter.

Hardly a likely scenario for an effective voter fraud conspiracy. And yet, O'Keefe proved that such lame-brained conspiracies can exist, because he cooked one up. Since obtaining ballots fraudulently is a crime, he absolutely should be prosecuted.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jan 12, 2012 at 11:10 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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