O’Keefe video renews debate over voter ID laws

A video that surfaced today purporting to show voter fraud inVermont last Tuesday has elicited dueling responses from the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties.

The video, reportedly produced by James O’Keefe, the conservative activist who won infamy for his undercover videos of ACORN offices, will undoubtedly reignite the old debate over voter identification laws.

That debate began Tuesday evening as Jack Lindley, chairman of the Vermont GOP, and Jesse Bragg, executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party, lauded and lambasted O’Keefe’s alleged evidence of voter fraud.

“It does expose flaws in the whole system, in my judgment,” Lindley said. “And it should give us all concern about the integrity of the voting system.”

Lindley had asked Secretary of State Jim Condos to investigate voter-checklist “irregularities” inBurlingtoneven before O’Keefe’s video hit the internet Tuesday. He said he had no inkling what O’Keefe was up to, but that the video footage only cements his concerns.

“If we have to show identification to get on an airplane, we surely ought to have to show ID at the ballot,” Lindley said. “I don’t think regular old Vermonters like me need to have the concern that there are people voting in elections that aren’t (registered voters).”

Bragg said the only evidence of voter fraud he’s ever seen is in the video that surfaced Tuesday. A gimmicky ruse designed to play on irrational fears about voter fraud, eh said, shouldn’t be used as basis to impose new restrictions on voting.

“He’s a radical right-wing activist and he is presenting a problem that doesn’t exist,” Bragg said.

Bragg saidVermontalready has law prohibiting the kind of behavior portrayed in the video. Adopting new laws that require residents to show proof of identification with a driver’s license or other state-sanctioned document, Bragg said, will disenfranchise marginalized sectors of society.

“Anything that requires a voter to travel somewhere, to pay a registration fee, or to take any extra step besides going to the polls, is a form of disenfranchisement,” Bragg said. “Any time you have to get an ID renewed and pay a fee, it becomes a poll tax. The point of our democracy is everyone has an equal vote, and the second we start putting restrictions on our right to vote is the second we start valuing one person’s vote over another’s.”

8 Responses to O’Keefe video renews debate over voter ID laws

  1. If it comes from James O’Keefe, then it’s fabricated. Simple as that. He is not a journalist and he never tells the truth. This video should be ignored.

  2. I Lean Wright

    So, are you saying that the video is staged? That this never happened?

    •  @I Lean Wright
       O’Keefe stages everything. The reason this idiot came to Vermont is that the state of New Hampshire is considering prosecuting O’Keefe for voter tampering after making  a similar video there. It’s all lying conservative propaganda.

  3. 1strepublic14thstar

    There’s no “debate.”  Republicans want to reduce the number of people who vote because they believe fewer voters gives them an edge in elections.  O’Keefe is willing to commit fraud and selectively edit video in an effort to do the Republican party’s dirty work.  He was convicted of attempting to break into the offices of a US Senator and tap her phones.  Nothing he says is credible or should be taken at face value.

  4. 1strepublic14thstar

    In fact, “reporters” and “journalists” shouldn’t even report on what O’Keefe does.  He has ZERO credibility.  If you must report on him, try headlines such as “O’Keefe’s latest fraud” or “O’Keefe commits more crimes.”
    “On the one hand O’Keefe says the sky is green.  On the other hand, some say it’s blue.  The controversy will continue.”  That’s what passes for journalism today — false equivalency and a quest for “balance,” as though there are always two sides to every argument or story, and both are equally credible.
    Liars are liars, and they tell lies.  It’s OK for reporters to say that.

  5. Does O’keefe publish who funds his work?
    Let’s get some transparency on the source of this slur of Vermont’s town volunteers and our “open” town meetings

  6. When cops commit a crime to prove there’s crime, it’s called entrapment. Entrapment is a crime. Prosecute O’Keefe.