In an undercover “sting” video that has caused a stir since debuting online last week, a national group led by conservative activist James O’Keefe cites the cases of three Wake County voters in an effort to show that it’s easy to commit voter fraud here. The three examples used by Project Veritas, though, turned out to be wrong, according to elections officials and reporting by the News & Observer. And one family is upset that the name of their patriarch, who died in April, is being dragged into a political escapade. “I don’t even know what to say, except that it makes you feel violated,” said Winifred Bolton of Raleigh. She is the widow of Michael G. Bolton, who died of cancer April 23 at age 63. Michael Bolton is cited in the video, posted on YouTube, as an example of what the narrator calls “ballots being offered out in the name of the dead.”
Bolton had been a sports star at Broughton High School and was a community pillar in Raleigh, serving on the N.C. State University alumni association board, the NCSU Centennial Gateway Committee and on the boards of the Raleigh Little Theatre and North Carolina Theatre. Two weeks after his death, on the day of the May 8 primary, a Veritas operator clad in a strange outfit built around green lederhosen, a multi-colored cap and a bleach job that made his beard and hair mismatch to a comical degree, appeared at Bolton’s polling place. In the video, he identifies himself as Bolton and – according to the narrator – is offered Bolton’s ballot.
An unedited, three-and-a-half-hour version of the videotape on Veritas’ own website, though, shows that editors snipped out a key piece of the video: a poll worker asking the 20-something impersonator if he is Michael G. Bolton Junior. The Veritas operative says yes. Michael G. Bolton Jr. , who has the same address as his father, is very much alive. His mother, Winifred Bolton, was the first member of the family to find out that something odd had happened at their polling place, Martin Middle School in Raleigh.