Conservative activist: Video shows campaigns encouraging illegal votes
Posted October 30, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Filmmaker and provocateur James O'Keefe's Project Veritas nonprofit has released a video showing what appears to be people working on behalf of various political campaigns in Mecklenburg County encouraging an undercover actor to vote, even though she says she is in the United States illegally.
The video, O'Keefe said during a news conference in Raleigh Thursday, is the first of at least two he plans to release about North Carolina by early next week. Tuesday is Election Day.
The Mecklenburg video is typical of the filmmaker's oeuvre, in which he goads unsuspecting campaign workers or other individuals into endorsing apparently illegal or unethical activity.
"Clearly in the video, people are instructing and telling people to vote even though they completely understand they are non-citizens," O'Keefe said.
None of the people in the video are state officials, nor are they candidates themselves. Rather, O'Keefe's video captures people who are handing out literature outside polling places on behalf of candidates, such as the Republican and Democrat running for sheriff, the father of a judicial candidate and those working the polls for legislative candidates.O'Keefe's video plays off a potential problem with North Carolina voter rolls. The North Carolina State Board of Elections has confirmed that 109 people under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are presently on the voter rolls but have not voted in any prior election. DACA allows some people who arrived illegally in the United States as children to remain in the country.
There are roughly 6.6 million people registered to vote in North Carolina.
"We are working to ensure that no ballot cast by a non-citizen will count in this or any future election," state elections director Kim Westbrook Strach said in the news release.
O'Keefe said his group has been doing similar work in both Wake and Durham counties, but he declined to specify what his next video might show.
He has been criticized in the past for heavily editing videos that slammed organizations such as National Public Radio and the community organizing group ACORN. He declined to release raw footage of the Project Veritas work in Mecklenburg County, saying his actors were undercover.
"All journalism is selectively edited, especially print journalism," O'Keefe said. "No TV organization I can think of releases their full raw tapes," adding that everything that was said was "in context."
O'Keefe is known for videos in which he or his associates go undercover and bait their targets into saying things that suggest illegal or unethical activities. He may be best known for appearing to pose as a pimp soliciting advice from ACORN on how to conceal illegal income. Conservative writers and groups have embraced O'Keefe's work, which tends to go viral on social media after being promoted by Republican-leaning websites such as NewsMax and WND.
He is reviled by the political left, and critics point to O'Keefe's missteps. He reportedly paid $100,000 to a former ACORN worker to settle allegations the well-known sting misrepresented him, was fined and put on three years' probation by a federal court for a stunt involving Democratic Louisiana U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office and attempted to lure a CNN reporter with a sexually suggestive prank.
Most recently, his group has released videos purporting to show Democratic campaign workers in Colorado condoning illegal voting and staffers for Democratic Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes undercutting her message on coal production in the state.