Discredited conservative filmmaker James O'Keefe released heavily edited videos Wednesday claiming to prove that members of President Obama's campaign team are helping voters engage in voter fraud. In fact, neither of the highly edited videos O'Keefe released shows a single vote being cast, completely undermining his campaign to demonstrate widespread voter fraud.
In the heavily doctored videos, so-called undercover reporters are shown approaching individuals identified as staffers for Organizing for America, Obama's grassroots campaign organization, and other Obama supporters handing out voter registration forms in Texas and New York. The reporters claim they want registration forms because they intend to vote in two states.
No votes were cast, and no voter fraud occurred in either video, yet both doctored films are falsely blasted out under headlines promising a voter fraud expose.
In the first doctored video O'Keefe released in his latest campaign, a woman identified as Houston OFA Regional Field Director Stephanie Caballero is shown talking to a so-called undercover reporter who asks for help requesting an absentee ballot to vote in Florida, where the "reporter" claims to be registered to vote. The "reporter" is heard saying she intends to vote in both Florida and in Texas. The woman identified as Caballero at various times laughs, urges the "reporter" to only vote in Florida, and at one point says, "Come up with like, if anyone checks, say, 'I don't know.' "
Without the full, unedited video, it is impossible to know what any of this is actually in response to. As of publication, O'Keefe has not released the unedited video.
The woman identified as Caballero offers to print off an absentee ballot request form and explains the absentee ballot process, at one point acknowledging that she is not an expert in whether canvassing boards cross check absentee ballots to make sure voters don't vote twice. During what O'Keefe said is a second visit, the so-called reporter allegedly received an absentee ballot request form.
That a person claiming to be eligible to vote in Florida obtained an absentee ballot request form is not shocking. In fact, absentee ballot request forms are available online courtesy of Florida election officials. And printing one off is several steps away from actually voting.
What's important is that O'Keefe has not shown a single vote being cast, let alone a second "double" vote. O'Keefe hasn't even shown a potential voter actually requesting an absentee ballot. At best he's demonstrated printer abuse.
Had O'Keefe's so-called reporter actually submitted an absentee ballot in Florida while also voting in Texas, she would have been subject to that state's heavy penalties -- a fine of up to $5,000 and five years in prison -- for submitting an absentee ballot in the state while also voting elsewhere.
In a second doctored video, released under the headline "Brooklyn, Minnesota, Florida -- Voter Fraud Continues," another so-called reporter approaches people identified as volunteers at a Brooklyn Obama event and claims that he wants registration forms because he intends to vote in two states. The staffer gives him forms for both himself and his friends. Those same forms can be found online, and must be submitted to New York election officials before an individual could actually be registered to vote -- which would need to take place before a single vote could be cast.
O'Keefe's video shows no voter registration forms being filled out and no votes being cast.
In the second video, O'Keefe also interviews Erin Haust, a woman who claims to still be registered to vote in Florida despite not living there and having asked to be taken off the voter rolls. Consistent with the rest of the video, Haust has not actually voted in two places and has not committed voter fraud.
Despite having failed to show a single person committing voter fraud, the video's description includes a link to a website named End Voter Fraud Now, in which people who have seen the video can sign a form letter to Attorney General Eric Holder claiming "I know that voter fraud is a widespread problem that will affect the outcome of the 2012 presidential election."
O'Keefe may "know that voter fraud is a widespread problem," but he has yet to prove it.