Brian Dickerson, a writer for the Detroit Free Press, penned a column Wednesday mocking conservative activist James O’Keefe for his attempt to impersonate him in a failed effort to catch voter fraud on tape for one of his “sting” videos.
“I wish I could muster some righteous indignation over this outrage. But the thing is, O’Keefe didn’t get very far,” Dickerson wrote.
In the video, O’Keefe tells a poll workers at a precinct in Birmingham, Michigan, that he would like to cast a ballot but lost his driver’s license while hunting. Michigan requires a photo ID, but allows non-ID holders to vote with an affidavit.
After a call to the Birmingham city clerk’s office, the worker tells O’Keefe he can vote after he signs affidavit affirming he is Dickerson. O’Keefe does not sign the affidavit or vote, but he claims victory in proving that voting laws are too lax — especially after the poll worker seems to doubt that O’Keefe is actually Dickerson, but hands him a ballot anyway. He then goes to the clerk’s office to confront City Clerk Laura Pierce with the tape of the worker handing him the ballot.
But Dickerson’s column suggests that O’Keefe left out some key details in his cut of the video, which was promoted on Drudge and various conservative websites. For one, Dickerson said, the poll worker Cindy Rose is an acquaintance.
“Rose and I know each other pretty well. I see her every time I vote, and far more frequently in the nearby park where I walk my dog,” Dickerson said. “And it’s not just me; Rose has been a volunteer in my precinct for nine years running, and she recognizes most of the voters she encounters every Election Day.”
Had O’Keefe would have signed the affidavit, he would have committed a felony under Michigan law. But instead of signing it, O’Keefe heads over to the clerk’s office to tape his confrontation.
“Which is smart, because by this time Rose has called the Birmingham city clerk’s office, where another acquaintance of mine, Deputy Clerk Cheryl Arft, informs her that she accepted an absentee ballot from the real Brian Dickerson a day earlier,” Dickerson wrote. “In the video, Rose chooses not to share this intelligence with the intrepid impostor, curious to see how far he will press his scheme.”
Even if Dickerson hadn’t yet voted absentee already, a forged affidavit would have wrung some alarm bells, Dickerson said.
Pierce, the city clerk, told Dickerson that if the columnist hadn’t voted absentee and had come to vote after an impersonator had voted in his name, the worker would have confirmed Dickerson was Dickerson with an ID, and then called the police.
Dickerson added that the Birmingham police proactively opened an investigation into whether O’Keefe had committed any crime by verbally misrepresenting himself to the poll workers, but that the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office appeared to not be pursuing the case it “had bigger fish to fry,” Dickerson wrote.
“James O’Keefe is a professional liar,” Dickerson said. “He just isn’t very good at it.”