Those who helped conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe create his latest exposé on voter fraud could themselves face criminal charges, election law experts told Talking Points Memo.
In the video, O’Keefe’s confederates obtained ballots under the names of dead voters at polling locations in New Hampshire during the state’s primaries. O’Keefe told The Daily Caller that the video showed the need for voter ID laws to fight against voter fraud.
O’Keefe’s confederates never claimed to be the dead people whose ballots they were trying to obtain. They asked for the ballot using a phrase like “Do you have Earnest Chavanelle?” They also did not use the fake ballots to vote.
But they could still face criminal charges on both the federal and state level for procuring fraudulent ballots.
Hamline University law professor David Schultz told Talking Points Memo that he had no doubt that O’Keefe’s confederates violated the law.
“In either case, if they were intentionally going in and trying to fraudulently obtain a ballot, they violated the law,” he said. “So right off the bat, what they did violated the law.”
“This is illegal, right? This is fraud and you would think he would actually get into trouble for doing this,” John Samples of the libertarian think tank Cato added.
Republicans have pushed for stricter voting regulations, such as voter ID laws, to protect against alleged voter fraud. More than 30 states have changed voter laws since 2008, including requiring voter identification cards, eliminating same-day registration on voting day, prohibiting ex-felons from ballot access, restricting early voting and requiring proof of citizenship.
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.