James O’Keefe Shows Everyone Just How Hard Voter Fraud Is

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I see that famous right-wing videographer/editor James O’Keefe is back in the news. His latest obsession is voter fraud, and a few days ago he conducted one of his famous stunts. You see, Attorney General Eric Holder says (correctly) that actual voter fraud is all but nonexistent in America, so O’Keefe hired a white guy who looks nothing like Holder to walk into a polling place and cast a vote as Eric Holder. See? It is possible to vote fraudulently!

Alex Koppelman has more here, but he misses out on the biggest point of all: O’Keefe’s video doesn’t show how easy it is to vote fraudulently. It shows how hard it is. You see, O’Keefe’s stunt double didn’t actually vote. Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com, explains why: “Obviously this wasn’t an actual case of voter fraud—O’Keefe and Project Veritas didn’t want to break the law.”

Obviously. And that’s the whole point. Nobody in his right mind deliberately casts an illegal ballot. You’re risking a felony rap over one vote. Hell, O’Keefe’s guy wasn’t willing to risk it even though that was the whole point of the stunt, and even though, according to Shapiro, the odds of getting caught were “almost zero.” That’s because O’Keefe’s stooge isn’t clinically insane, which is about what you’d have to be to take a chance like that for essentially no gain at all.

But wait! How about the possibility of wide-scale fraud? Risking prison to cast a single vote might not be worth it, but maybe the reanimated corpse of ACORN would be willing to pay thousands of people to vote fraudulently — enough to seriously influence an election. But that’s just a fever dream too. Does anyone seriously think that an enterprise like that could (a) work and (b) be kept secret? With thousands of participants? Please.

There’s no question that in-person voter fraud is possible. No one’s ever denied it. The question is whether anyone ever actually does it. And on that score, there’s voluminous evidence that virtually no one ever does. That’s because anyone crazy enough to do it is busy yelling at passersby about the approaching end of the world, not wandering into polling places to cast ballots in the name of Eric Holder.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s worth adding that notwithstanding all this, O’Keefe’s video is very effective. He may be a hack, but he’s a pretty impressive one.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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