Appearing on MSNBC on Monday morning, Heritage Foundation senior fellow Brian Darling tried to advocate on behalf of Republicans’ efforts in several to purge allegedly fraudulent voters from the rolls ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
However, under questioning Darling was unable to cite a single verified instance of actual voter fraud, leading host Chuck Todd to declare that he was “actually proving” Democrats’ contention that the Republican Party’s actions are unnecessary.
“Where is this voter fraud?” Todd asked. “I mean, it’s not this giant…”
“We’ve had recent examples,” Darling said. “…We just had a Michigan Congressman resign… not run for reelection, because… his campaign gathered signatures that couldn’t be validated.”
Todd pointed out that petition gathering is much different from actually voting in a public election. “I mean, that’s a different law there,” he said.
“Yeah, but it’s very hard to catch voter fraud,” Darling replied. “Look at what James O’Keefe did. He walked into D.C., he didn’t have any ID…”
“Did he vote?” Todd asked.
“No, he didn’t vote,” Darling responded. “He didn’t vote, but he asked for a ballot and they were gonna give it to him.”
“Right, but you’re actually proving the point here,” Todd said. “That the fraud didn’t take place because they prevented it.”
O’Keefe, a conservative media prankster whose deceptively edited videos helped convince Congress to pull funding for the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN), recently released a new series of videos in an attempt to “prove” Republicans’ claims of a massive voter fraud conspiracy.
The video referenced by Darling shows an unnamed man asking a Washington, D.C. poll worker for Attorney General Eric Holder’s ballot. After a poll worker requests his signature — which, if he’d signed, would have constituted a felony — the man claims he’s forgotten his identification and leaves, having not committed a crime.
Even if O’Keefe’s associate had gone ahead and committed felony fraud, Holder would still have been given a provisional ballot, which are carefully scrutinized by attorneys for both political parties.
Another of O’Keefe’s voter fraud videos depicts men purported to be foreigners obtaining ballots and voting in New Hampshire. Both were later revealed to be legally entitled to vote. Yet another video claims to depict an O’Keefe’s associate obtaining the ballot of a dead man in North Carolina. The ballot was later revealed to belong to the man’s son, who’s still very much alive, shares his father’s name and lives at his father’s former address.
The specter of voter fraud is one that Republicans have frequently used to justify voter roll purges and the imposition of voter ID laws. According to a report by the Brennan Center for Justice, changes to voting laws could suppress up to five million votes during the 2012 elections, particularly among young, minority and low-income voters, as well as those with disabilities — all of whom tend to vote for Democrats.
The Department of Justice is currently engaged in efforts to stop voter ID laws and an ongoing purge of voters from rolls in several states. Republican officials in Florida, however, said on Monday that their voter purge will continue despite the federal government’s order to cease the operation by Wednesday.
This video is from MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, broadcast Monday, June 4, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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