Mystery ‘Texan’ Messes with New Hampshire Primary

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The headline reads like a dream for voter ID backers here in Texas: “Dead man voting: Texas man tries to cast posthumous ballot.”

The Boston Herald‘s dispatch from last night at the New Hampshire primary is cooked-to-order perfect for King Street Patriots and other “voter integrity” operations around the country:

A man asks for a ballot, gives election workers a bogus name and disappears into the night when the election judge recognizes the alias as a man who’s recently passed on.

From the Boston Herald:

The man, dressed in a suit and tie, did not say why he was trying to vote as the recently deceased person and would not identify any group he was representing.

“He said, ‘You’ll soon find out,’” Pilotte said.

The man, who admitted being from Texas, almost got away with the fraud. He came in to the polling place and gave election officials the name of a man who was still on the voter list. Voters here don’t have to present ID if they are registered.

All the hard evidence you need that the voter fraud threat is real, that our elections will only be safe when voting requires a photo ID. Nevermind that election judges testifying about vote fraud consistently say voter impersonation is the least likely kind of trouble they encounter.

Austin attorney Buck Wood, who’s spent decades checking elections for fraud, says there’s a simple reason why: “It doesn’t make any difference,” he says. “Garden variety election fraud just doesn’t have any impact on elections in Texas, and nobody would organize such a thing.”

It’s an inefficient strategy for anyone serious about swinging an election. Faking mail-in ballots might still get you caught, but they’re easier to fudge—and voter ID laws don’t change that.

“It’s pretty easy to catch this stuff,” Wood says. ”The only thing voter ID would do is frighten those people away from the polls who don’t have ID’s, but are perfectly eligible to vote.”

Tea party groups like Houston’s King Street Patriots, though, are rushing to inflame fears about the voter integrity threat—and stories like this from New Hampshire certainly help.

After all, this wasn’t some crackpot YouTube special last night, right? This is hard evidence, and in the mainstream press, too, that Texans are impersonating dead voters across the country. Even CNN’s got the story.

Manchester City Clerk Matt Normand told them it’s the first time he’s seen this sort of thing. But the whole thing sounds pretty strange.

First, of all, nobody “admits” to being from Texas, especially when they’re breaking the law and riding off into the night like the Hamburglar.

It sounds so cartoonish. Asked who he’s working for, this guy says, “You’ll soon find out?” It could almost be some kind of James O’Keefe/ACORN sting operation.

Wait. What about the YouTubes?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-uVhhIlPk0

Project Veritas is, in fact, an O’Keefe operation, the nonprofit he started in 2010, and it looks like they and their cameras had quite a time Tuesday in New Hampshire. Here’s The Daily Caller’s report on the “exclusive” video footage from O’Keefe’s group.

I can’t pick this mystery Texan’s footage out of the video, if he’s in there, but it sure seems like a fair bet they’re connected. Project Vertas’ video closes with an ominous “To Be Continued…” so there could be even more of these sting operations on the way in the name of election “integrity.”

Patrick Michels is a reporter for the Texas Observer and a former legislative intern. He has been a staff writer and web editor at the Dallas Observer, and a former editor of the Texas Independent. He has a bachelor's in journalism from Northwestern University, a master's in photojournalism from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a competitive eating enthusiast.