Video sting should be prosecuted

“The Shawshank Redemption” is one of my favorite 10 movies, and I’m sure I’m not alone here. The prison film is full of great acting, great storytelling and moments that give us all pause. But even the minor lines have weight.

Midway through the film, new inmate Tommy Williams regales the lunch table crowd with stories of other jails he’s been in, and times he’s been caught by the police. Andy Dufresne responds, “Maybe you should try a new career … you don’t have much success as a thief.”

Dufresne needs to have a word with right-wing filmmaker James O’Keefe. He’s the guy who created the prostitution “sting” video that got federal funds pulled from ACORN — not because ACORN did anything wrong, but because Congress was too weak-willed to wait until police refused to file charges and called his videos heavily-edited hit jobs.

This time, O’Keefe and crew attempted to prove voter fraud by obtaining New Hampshire primary ballots using the names of recently deceased people. We know about it because O’Keefe’s Project Veritas put it online.

But we also know they got caught. Poll workers challenged some of the attempts. They were also so bad at it, they snared a living guy (the dead guy’s son had the same name and address, but a different middle initial).

In a fundraising email, O’Keefe said the project, paid for by a $50,000 donation, proves, “it is clear that voter fraud can influence the outcome of an election and it is important to note that Project Veritas’ team had the ability to cast more than a dozen votes in this latest investigation.”

I doubt the, “I’m a hero who broke the law to prove it could be broken,” defense would stand up in court. But O’Keefe and crew only have to play that card if state and federal prosecutors file charges — as families of those affected have requested. Officials said they’re still looking into the matter, but families of those affected have indicated they’ve felt brushed off.

So voter fraud could be done. You merely have to raise a year’s salary, check the newspaper for recent obituaries, comb through voter rolls to find the registered voters, pinpoint their voting precinct, and then hope none of the assigned poll workers knew the deceased person. Piece of cake, right?

If anything, O’Keefe’s crew proved that voter fraud is more a scare tactic to justify disenfranchising people than a crime propagated on a widespread basis. They knowingly committed felonies and provided the evidence, and they should be prosecuted.

Like Tommy Williams, James O’Keefe and his people don’t seem to be good at crime. If there’s common sense in New Hampshire, they’ll end up in jail, just like Tommy Williams.