South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and right-wing guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe are holding a round-table discussion in Columbia next week to talk about Republican voter ID laws and O’Keefe’s latest video stunt, according to a news release.
O’Keefe is an Andrew Breitbart protégé who rose to fame through misleading videos which appeared to show low-level ACORN employees engaging in criminal activity. More recently, O’Keefe made headlines for attempting to seduce a CNN reporter on a boat filled with sex toys, as well as being arrested for trying to bug a U.S. senator’s office.
The Tuesday morning event, which is being held at the Vista’s Blue Marlin restaurant and costs at least $50 to attend, will center around the most recent hijinks of O’Keefe’s “Project Veritas.” A video published this week allegedly depicts O’Keefe’s minions fraudulently obtaining U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s ballot from a polling place in Washington, DC.
While certainly an effective stunt, O’Keefe’s video no more proves that voter fraud is happening in South Carolina than his ACORN video showed that the organization engaged in “massive voter fraud.” But that didn’t stop Republicans from claiming otherwise in 2008, and it certainly won’t stop Alan Wilson from using O’Keefe’s video to justify his support for unnecessary and discriminatory voter suppression laws in South Carolina.
In January, Wilson repeatedly told national audiences “we know for a fact” that voter fraud is happening in South Carolina after Gov. Nikki Haley’s DMV Director claimed that over 900 “dead people” voted in recent elections. Wilson and state Rep. Alan Clemmons later walked back their claims when their supposed evidence of voter fraud turned out to be a dud, but will likely use O’Keefe’s latest stunt to exhibit why South Carolina’s voter ID law and other legislative crackdowns on voting rights are necessary.
The event is sponsored in part by the Mace Group, which helps run FITSNews — the blog which published the news release on Tuesday. Interestingly, FITSNews editor Will Folks has called South Carolina’s voter ID law “a waste of time and money no matter what color you are.”
Palmetto Public Record agrees with Folks’ assessment that voter suppression measures are an unnecessary solution to a non-existent problem, and do nothing to “safeguard the ballot.” Such laws do, however, disenfranchise and discriminate against minority populations — and no amount of videotaped stunts or bogus allegations about “zombie voters” can change that.
Oh, and one more thing… If O’Keefe asks if you’d like to take a boat cruise on Lake Murray, DON’T DO IT. Trust me.