Desperate Dems, take note! You may have supported the Republican-loathed election-modernization act HB 1303 mandating that mail-in ballots be sent to all registered voters and enshrining same-day registration as the law of the land, but don’t start loading “gypsy voters” onto buses or digging unmarked ballots out of your dorm’s trash receptacle. James O’Keefe, the grand mustachio of “voting integrity,” knows what’s up in Colorado, and he’s on the ground to investigate.
Mother Jones’ report on O’Keefe’s integrity inquisition into Colorado’s 2014 election cycle reads like slapstick noir:
“The guy identifying himself as ‘Nick Davis’ returned to the Democratic office in Boulder. He was accompanied by a man wearing heavy makeup and a mustache, according to the Democratic staffer who had met Davis three days earlier. Davis introduced his friend as a ‘civics professor’ at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the faculty adviser to Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis and the professor, who said his name was ‘John Miller,’ picked up Udall campaign literature and canvassing information.”
O’Keefe tweeted a selfie of his masterful disguise:
Only time for 2-3 more election investigations. I went in Disguised as 45yo, this time people may lose their jobs pic.twitter.com/ihuTjpierm
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) October 20, 2014
Mark Udall campaign merch later was featured in an O’Keefe sting operation targeting nonprofit voter-turnout organization New Era Colorado. The effort to catch New Era coordinating with a campaign in violation of campaign-finance law ended with O’Keefe’s team trying to push open New Era’s front door to insert a microphone and New Era filing a police report.
Though O’Keefe has made himself nationally known as what MJ calls a “conservative provocateur,” he’s hardly the only guy to inject a little spy-tech into the political funhouse.
The phenomenon of “trackers” or “bird-doggers” — people who follow candidates around with a hidden-ish camera, waiting for a live-action gaffe to feed the tweeters — is up, way up, nationwide. Trackers have rocked #copolitics with gaffes that can shape elections — such as Gov. John Hickenlooper’s epic misfire or Rep. Doug Lamborn’s blaze of semi-treasonous glory.
Indeed, trackers are now such a regular presence in politics that NPR reports that some bird-doggers develop a highly civil, office-like rapport with their dog.
[Image by Lindsay Stanford]