Opinion

Voter fraud? Questions for O’Keefe

James O’Keefe’s latest video – this time in Charlotte – is disturbing. But it raises more questions than it answers.

O’Keefe is the conservative activist who has made a name for himself using surreptitious video to impugn Democrats. His video showing ACORN workers aiding a couple related to criminal acts in 2009 led to the downfall of that organization.

O’Keefe’s latest Internet sensation is a video taken at Charlotte early-voting locations in recent days. O’Keefe had a woman portray herself as a Brazilian-born illegal immigrant who wanted to vote for Sen. Kay Hagan. Several campaign workers for Charlotte Democratic candidates appear to encourage her to vote despite her immigration status, or at least acquiesce to the idea. Some of the footage appears damning.

Any campaign worker who knowingly urged a non-citizen to vote should be investigated. This, however, is not the open-and-shut case it has been made out to be.

A few questions for O’Keefe and his supporters:

• How heavily and selectively did you edit the video? How many campaign workers did you

not

include in the video because they did not give you the answer you were looking for?



• How does this demonstrate voter fraud? If you want to show voter fraud, shouldn’t you film an illegal immigrant voting, not asking a campaign worker if it’s OK to vote?



• Do you expect campaign workers to act as voter-law enforcement? Did any election official, state or local, act improperly?



The videos appear to show campaign workers acting improperly. But O’Keefe’s work has been discredited before, including by the California attorney general’s office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Some healthy skepticism when viewing the Charlotte videos is in order.

Don’t snooze on this

A news item of note: School officials in Fairfax, Va., voted last week to start the high school day a little later. School will begin at 8 a.m. or shortly after for the 22 high schools in the district. School officials said the decision was a no-brainer.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials are considering a similar change. At CMS, which is slightly smaller than Fairfax, high school typically begins at 7:15.

Fairfax devised its plan with the help from officials at the Children’s National Medical Center. Experts believe and research shows that the sleep patterns and sleep deficit resulting from early high school start times hurt teenagers academically.

The change costs money – about $4.9 million in the first year for Fairfax, mostly for new buses. But officials decided it was a worthy expense because of its direct impact on academics.

They’re right. It’s a no-brainer. CMS should make the call, too.

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