Election Officials Encourage Non-Citizen Voting, Influence Voters on Hidden Camera

November 8, 2018 Updated: November 8, 2018

Several election officials in Texas were caught on hidden camera suggesting that non-citizens can vote and are voting, while some Ohio, Georgia, and New Jersey poll workers instructed undercover reporters on who or what to vote for.

The videos were released by Project Veritas and Project Veritas Action, two nonprofits founded by James O’Keefe, whose guerrilla style of undercover journalism has developed into a highly effective operation that has garnered headlines across the country for about a decade.

‘We Get Tons of Them’

One of the reporters told a Texas poll worker that her boyfriend is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a protection from deportation for illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as minors, which was ordered by President Barack Obama in 2012.

The reporter said the boyfriend was able to register to vote, although DACA doesn’t bestow a legal status, much less citizenship—a prerequisite for voting.

“He is in the system, but he knows that, like, I don’t know, there’s, like, an issue with DACA people voting,” the reporter said in the video.

“Uh-uh,” the poll worker said, shaking her head. “Tell him, uh-uh, tell him we had a lot of them.”

“You’ve got a lot of them?” the reporter asked.

“Mhm,” said the worker, identified as Pam Nash in the video, nodding. “From early voter? We get tons of them.”

“Tons of DACA voters. Okay,” the reporter said.

“Get him. Bring him in,” the worker said.

“All right. Will do,” the reporter replied. “He just needs his ID, right?”

“That’s it. Driver’s license. He’s good,” the worker replied.

“And it doesn’t matter that he’s not a [citizen],” the reporter said.

“Nah. No ma’am,” the worker interjected.

Poll workers can face misdemeanor charges in Texas for knowingly allowing voting by someone who isn’t eligible.

But another poll worker expressed the same attitude.

‘They’re Still Good’

“I’m registered to vote and my girlfriend is, too,” another reporter asked a Texas poll worker, identified as Jamie Arriola. “She has her license, but she’s, like, a DACA recipient. So, I mean, like…”

“She’ll be good,” the worker replied.

“She’ll be good?” the reporter asked.

“Mhm. Just bring her ID,” the worker said.

“She definitely has her ID,” the reporter said. “But she doesn’t have, I don’t think she’s, like, has been fully processed as a citizen yet, but, like, she does have her ID.”

“But she’s in the process of getting it, right?” the worker asked.

“Yeah, like, she’s not a citizen yet, but, you know,” the reporter replied.

“Yeah. DACA program, right?” the worker said.

“Yeah,” the reporter replied.

“Yeah. They’re still good,” the worker said.

At another moment, the reporter asked if he could also bring the girlfriend’s mother and aunt. The worker said that “as long as they have their ID in the state of Texas, there’s no discrimination against it.”

“We don’t actually verify status,” he said.

‘He’s Better’

Some reporters posed as undecided and/or uninformed voters who asked poll workers for advice on who or what to vote for, even though poll workers are typically prohibited by law from telling people which candidate or measure to pick.

One reporter engaged in a conversation with a poll worker in New Jersey, where Democratic incumbent Sen. Rob Menendez ended up winning against Republican challenger Bob Hugin.

“At first I was kind of scared to vote for Menendez, you know, but, because he’s, you know,” the reporter said.

“No, but he’s better,” said the poll worker, identified as Tyrese Wicker. “In this situation right now, in this climate, even if who we elected [inaudible] better than Hugin.”

The worker said he was serving as a challenger for Hugin. The state allows candidates to hire challengers, who oversee and have the right to challenge the voting process and ballot counting.

“So you’re a Hugin supporter?” the reporter asked.

“No. Look, I’m challenger for Hugin,” he said. “I vote Menendez. But Hugin is going to pay me for today.”

The worker went on to vehemently deny a connection with Hugin.

“Don’t look at me like the enemy, I’m not the enemy, okay?” he said, as the reporter laughed.

‘Democrats Has a Better Platform’

In Georgia, a journalist spoke with a poll worker identified as John Hill.

“Is there usually one you recommend?” the reporter asked.

“I’m going to say that, but don’t come telling me he told me to,” the worker replied.

“No, I won’t,” the reporter said.

“But the thing is, right now, the Democrats has a better platform for you and for me,” the worker said.

‘He’s a Good Guy’

In Ohio, a reporter asked a poll worker who should he vote for in the Senate race, where the Democratic incumbent, Sherrod Brown, ended up winning against Republican Jim Renacci.

“Want me to give you some advice?” the worker, identified as Deonna Maiden, replied.

“Yeah,” the reporter said. “Which one?”

“He’s already the senator,” she said. “He’s a good guy.”

“So your recommendation is Sherrod Brown,” the reporter also asked.

“Oh yeah,” the worker said. “I’m a Democrat. I’ll admit it.”

She also appeared willing to get the reporter some Democratic campaign material.

“I have the handout over there, if you want me to get it,” she said.

The offices of the Texas, Georgia, and Ohio secretaries of state, which oversee elections, didn’t respond to requests for comment. New Jersey’s secretary of state office responded, but didn’t provide a statement.

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