Monday, March 19, 2012

Project Veritas invades Vermont

On Super Tuesday, thousands of Vermonters voted in the Primaries. Unfortunately, a few people voted that shouldn't have

Project Veritas, the conservative political group led by James O'Keefe, has released a video of their members fraudulently checking in to voting areas around the Green Mountain State. The point of the video was to show that voter ID laws are needed to crack down on voter fraud. The video shows members of the group checking in to various voting areas by assuming the identification of people who are either deceased or no longer residents in the area.

While the point they are trying to make may be a good one, the group unfortunately created more problems than solutions. For example, aside from this act of fraud, there was no other voter fraud to speak of in the state. Nor has there been in the past. Furthermore, the group deliberately and clearly broke the law in order to show that breaking the law was possible. This is like explaining to a police officer that you were speeding just to prove that it could be done. It's a bit of a stretch to say that this group thought out their video.

Voter ID laws may be an answer to a problem that hasn't arisen yet, but that doesn't mean we should just jump to prevent fraud before it's an issue. As some of the lawmakers from the state have noted, this doesn't justify scrutinizing the existing laws, it just means that voter registration rolls should be kept in better order. Those who have died or moved should be taken off the list in a more timely and efficient manner. I think that, if laws were strengthened around keeping registered voter lists up to date, you would have the same level of fraud prevention without infringing on the rights of the citizenry to vote.

Project Veritas may have tried to make a good point, and in some ways I agree that there are issues with the voting system. But voter ID laws are not the answer. And neither is breaking the law. The group should be held accountable and brought to court over the acts they clearly committed in their video, and we should take what lessons we can from them about how to strengthen our system while preserving it's core values.


Anonymous said...

Which laws did they break?

I don't see where they "voted" or said that they actually were the person (no use of "I" or "me") can you show me in the video where they misrepresented themselves?

Also how the hell can you tell if theres voter fraud or not since indication of voter fraud in vermont is dependent on the confession of those who commit it. What kind of policy is that? Laffable.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're speeding analogy works because they wouldn't have actually committed the act of speeding. I just looked at the laws against voter fraud in vermont, and can't see how any were broken since no ballots were cast and the presumption is that their intention was not to cast ballots (it would be hard to prove intent otherwise)

Its more like walking into a bank thats made of glass; in a secluded forest, that has no lock on the door, no employees, no vault, just a pile of money and a sign that says:

"Please don't take this money unless you have an account with us, and don't take more than your balance. We use the honor system here; and tho we have absolutely no way of telling who's taking the money, if you tell us that you stole any of it we will throw you in jail for bank robbery so you better not take any money!"

Yeah thats a much better analogy.

Chain-thinker said...

§ 2015. Fraudulent voting

A person who personates another, living or dead and gives or offers to give a vote in the name of such other person or gives or offers to give a vote under a fictitious name at a town, village or school district meeting or a general election, for an officer to be elected at such meeting or election, shall be imprisoned not more than one year or fined not more than $100.00, or both. (Amended 1981, No. 223 (Adj. Sess.), § 23.)

This is the law that was broken. It says that, even if a vote was not cast, if a person offers to cast a vote in the name of a person that they are not, it is considered voter fraud.

Chain-thinker said...

And this one too:

§ 2013. False answer as to right to vote

A person who knowingly gives a false answer or information to the presiding officer at a general election or to the authority present to decide upon the qualifications of voters, touching a person's right to vote at such election, shall be fined not more than $100.00.