James O’Keefe: Not Helping Scott Gessler

Yesterday, right-wing news site Breitbart.com released a new video from conservative “gotcha” artist James O’Keefe, purportedly showing how easy it is for “non-citizens” to vote:

In the video, William Romero, an apparent non-citizen, is shown to be registered to vote in North Carolina. According to jury refusal records obtained by Project Veritas, Romero was recused for being a non-citizen. Yet when a researcher from Project Veritas went into the polling station, he found that not only was Romero still on the voting rolls but  the poll workers were also more than willing to give him Romero’s ballot.

The video finds that another alleged non-citizen in Durham County, North Carolina, was on the voter rolls–and apparently voted in 2008 and 2010–even though he had been categorized as “code 7” in jury recusal forms, which means he had been excused as a non-citizen.

In another crucial swing state, Florida, elections officials fear as many as 180,000 non-citizens may be registered to vote. In Colorado, during the 2010 midterm elections, 5,000 non-citizens may have voted…

As you know, we (and others) have repeatedly debunked this persistent claim that “5,000 noncitizens may have voted” in the 2010 elections in Colorado. The claim originates with Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who used this figure in congressional testimony, but it doesn’t stand up to even casual scrutiny. As we noted and local media outlets realized last year, over thirty thousand Colorado residents became citizens during the period Gessler “analyzed,” enough to easily account for the 5,000 “noncitizens” who “may” have voted in 2010.

As liberal blog Think Progress reports, O’Keefe appears to have made exactly the same error.

ThinkProgress spoke with [Zbigniew] Gorzkowski this morning. He verified that this information was indeed correct and he had been an American citizen since the late 1980s. Therefore, his votes in the 2008 and 2010 elections were not only perfectly legal, but encouraged as a civic duty.

In other words, the one instance in the video where O’Keefe purports to show that a non-citizen had actually voted, in fact shows that a citizen voted.

The episode does speak to a larger underlying problem with most accusations of voter fraud. It’s what I call the “Scooby Doo routine”. People like O’Keefe make wild voter fraud accusations like non-citizens voting, only to discover a much simpler explanation for the situation…

Note that O’Keefe said he found two such “non-citizens.”

[William] Romero’s family told ThinkProgress he became a naturalized citizen in early 2011.

What’s more, Romero’s family told ThinkProgress that they had began receiving harassing telephone calls two weeks before the incident in the video asking if Romero was a citizen. They confirmed to the caller – it’s unclear whether they were speaking with O’Keefe himself or another individual – that Romero is indeed a citizen. Nevertheless, O’Keefe proceeded to ambush the family at their home and publish this video claiming he’s not a citizen.

One member of his family, who was confronted in O’Keefe’s video as he came home to care for his sick son, was incensed by the charge, calling it “completely absurd.”

Bottom line: this story should help explain why, although Secretary of State Gessler has repeatedly thrown around accusations suggesting that “thousands” of non-citizens “may have voted,” including spreading the 5,000 figure used in the Breitbart.com story above, he has never produced a documented example of this actually having happened.

Because Gessler would most likely end up looking like James O’Keefe.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlue says:

    Because Gessler would most likely end up looking like James O’Keefe.

    Now that you mention it…

  2. MADCO says:

    (She was an R- you could look it up)

    And didn’t some dead guys vote in KS and CO last time. (R’s – look it up).

    And once I heard about some guy in Adams county voting there and in Aurora/Arapahoe county (R).

    I can see why the Secretary (R) is concerned abut voter fraud but he should focus on actual fraud.

    • Dan Willis says:

      Should prevent someone from voting or being registered in more than one county in Colorado. If it happens, someone at one the clerks’ office is not doing their job properly.

      There is no realistic way to police people who register in multiple states with the tools currently available to election officials. A nationwide voter database would have to be instituted for that to happen. That would be terribly expensive and not very practical to maintain. It would also take an act of Congress, so no one SoS can accomplish this.

      There is some means available for states to communicate to each other that a voter has newly registered in one state and should be removed from the rolls of the former state, but it is largely dependent on 1) the voter acknowledging that he/she is from the previous state and 2) the new state participating in the program, which is not yet mandatory.

  3. RedGreen says:

    It’s sad how the Honey Badger is reduced to this.

    • ArapaGOP says:

      But this only refutes part of O’Keefe’s video, which was never posted here because it shows evidence that dead people and other ineligible people can easily get ballots. Pols doesn’t want to discuss it all, they just stop at whatever they can find to undermine it.

      Democrats want a less secure election system, and it’s becoming harder to explain why.

  4. cunninjo says:

    After all, he is being accused of committing a serious crime in a very public news story when O’Keefe apparently knew ahead of time that his accusation was completely false. I think he would have a strong case.  

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