Elections officials in the District are condemning conservative activist James O’Keefe as a “prankster” for his latest hidden-camera ploy, in which he sent an associate inside a D.C. polling place to demonstrate the need for “voter ID” laws by showing he could vote as the U.S. attorney general. In a statement, the Board of Elections and Ethics said the O’Keefe associate was “misrepresenting his identity” by walking into Spring Valley’s Precinct 9 on Tuesday and asking a poll worker if Eric Holder appeared on the rolls. But a representative of O’Keefe’s Project Veritas said no laws were broken in the incident. The attorney general is indeed registered to vote in the precinct, and the poll worker invited the man to sign the poll book and proceed to vote. At that point, the man inquired about providing ID and was told it was not necessary before he left. The board said that the Holder incident is one of “multiple incidents” that took place last Tuesday that it continues to investigate. O’Keefe teased other hidden-camera episodes in the Holder video.
The board’s chairwoman, Deborah K. Nichols, said in a statement that polling places are open to public inspection by media and campaign observers. “There is never any justification for disrupting the voting process with fraudulent activity,” she said. Holder was specifically targeted, according to the video, because of the Justice Department’s recent opposition to voter ID laws in two states requiring Voting Rights Act preclearance.
Board member Stephen Danzansky, a Republican, said voter ID “is a policy question for lawmakers to decide and the proper forum for influencing that debate is not in the inner sanctum of the polling place. … We will protect the integrity of that space from political pranksters and advocates who attempt to usurp that ground for their own political positions or causes.”