Elections

New Project Veritas Video: Voter Fraud in Ilhan Omar’s District

Representative Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., April 10, 2019 (Jim Bourg/Reuters)
A Somali whistleblower working in the sheriff’s office helped O’Keefe record evidence of a cash-for-votes scheme.

A “ballot broker” boasts about keeping hundreds of absentee ballots in his car trunk. He brags about them being filled in by people other than the voters. Often, money changes hands. Witnesses tie the rampant fraud to the campaign chairman of a prominent member of the radical “squad” in the U.S. House. Loose election laws allow people to come from out of state, vote, and then leave again.

This activity is really happening in America in 2020, and it’s been captured on video by guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe. Some of it could be coming to swing states near you if something isn’t done.

A concerted effort is being made to use the coronavirus as an excuse to transform how we vote in elections by shifting to mail-in or absentee ballots. We are told that democracy will be improved if we allow ballots to be handled outside the scrutiny of election officials — and that there is almost no voter fraud, so what’s to worry about?

Common sense and election observers argue against any sudden shift. “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” concluded the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter. Allowing such ballots “increases the risks of fraud and of contested elections.”

In 2012, a grand jury in Miami-Dade County warned about the risks of absentee voting: “Once that ballot is out of the hands of the elector, we have no idea what happens to it. The possibilities are numerous and scary.”

Omar Escobar, the Democratic district attorney of Starr County, Texas, says that in his area the abuse of elderly citizens for their absentee ballots is such that “the time has come to consider an alternative to mail-in voting . . . something that can’t be hijacked.”

Guerilla filmmaker James O’Keefe is famous for having busted institutions ranging from the fraudulent voter-registration group ACORN to NPR to Google. His Project Veritas team has also piled up an impressive array of videos documenting voter fraud and how easy it is to commit it.

Veritas reporters found that it was easy to vote using the name of a dead person in New Hampshire. They filmed a Greenpeace activist in Colorado boasting about how he could find ballots in trash cans that could be fraudulently mailed in. In North Carolina, political operatives encouraged Veritas representatives to vote even if they were not citizens. In 2016, Veritas cameras caught Alan Schulkin, Manhattan’s Democratic election commissioner, saying, “It’s absurd. There is a lot of fraud. Not just voter fraud, all kinds of fraud.” He explained, “They put [people] in a bus and go from poll site to poll site.” Schulkin was promptly fired for his candor by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

Now O’Keefe has trained his cameras on “ballot harvesting,” in which third parties collect mail-in ballots and deliver them to election officials. While illegal in some states, it is legal in California and other states. The individual collecting the ballots can even be a paid campaign worker for someone who is on the ballot. So-called ballot brokers will target certain communities, apartment complexes, or nursing homes to collect votes for their political party.

O’Keefe has uncovered what appears to be a massive ongoing voter-fraud scheme in Minneapolis. It is linked to the political machine of Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman from Minnesota’s fifth district (Minneapolis) and a close ally of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. House.

Omar was first elected in 2018 and quickly became a controversial figure, rebuked for her anti-Semitic remarks and accused of shady campaign spending and having committed immigration fraud by marrying her brother. In 2020, she was challenged by Antone Melton-Meaux, a lawyer who promised to pay less attention to national progressive politics and who ran on the campaign slogan “Focused on the Fifth.” He was endorsed by the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board and former Minneapolis NAACP president Nekima Levy-Armstrong.

Melton-Meaux wound up losing in the August Democratic primary, 57 percent to 39 percent.

Many people believe that Omar’s complete domination of the district’s politics is rooted in her machine’s ability to fool, seduce, or bribe members of her Somali community into committing voter fraud.

Minnesota law forbids anyone from “ballot harvesting” more than three ballots in an election. So why does Liban Mohamed, a “ballot broker,” boast about having 300 ballots in his car from the August primary, many of them blank and some opened? “Money is everything,” he laughs on the video. Activists describe how people receive cash when they hand their absentee ballot over so it can be filled out.

A. J. Awed, a Somali who was a losing candidate for city council in Minneapolis’s Ward 6, is shocked at the “corruption” he sees. He calls Omar’s machine “an alliance between [her] clan and the progressive Left.” A Somali political activist says the state’s Democratic Party knows all about the schemes. She describes how Somalis have long moved in from out of state and temporarily established residence and then voted on Election Day, with local campaign workers “vouching” for them. They then disappear and go back to their real homes and their normal lives. Now, with the loosening of mail-in ballot laws, cheating is even easier.

O’Keefe’s guide and facilitator in making these undercover videos is Omar Jamal. A Somali American, Jamal works for the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office and also runs the Somali Watchdog Group, which fights corruption by some of the community’s leaders.

O’Keefe’s sources say the practices that O’Keefe describes are organized by Ali (Isse) Gainey, Ilhan Omar’s deputy district director. Isse has served critical roles in Omar’s two successful congressional campaigns as the field organizer for her Minnesota House race and the outreach director for her first congressional campaign. Jamal says that Omar is “victimizing her own community and undermining election integrity.”

Nor is the corruption new. Phyllis Kahn, a Democratic state representative in Minneapolis for 44 years until Omar defeated her in 2016, has long complained about voter fraud tied to Omar’s machine; she believes that fraud contributed to her sudden defeat.

Nor is Kahn the only Democrat concerned that voter fraud exists and is seriously undermining our elections. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Democrat who made a mild splash as a presidential candidate this year, has become a lead co-sponsor of a bill to withdraw federal election assistance from states that allow ballot harvesting. Her Republican counterpart on the Election Fraud Prevention Act is Illinois Republican Rodney Davis.

“Banning ballot harvesting is not a partisan issue . . . and it is ripe for fraud,” she says in a video. “It poses a serious threat to the integrity of our elections.”

Omar Jamal is even more blunt. “If American people don’t pay attention to what’s happening, soon the country will collapse,” he warns. “The rules and regulations, if you ignore that, and you let corruption and fraud become a daily business, then tough luck. The country will not exist as they know it.”

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