This video from locally-based conservative "gotcha" site Revealing Politics has been making the breathless rounds within conservative social media circles since the weekend. A new GOP tracker named Brandon Morse has been hanging out at the state capitol for the last couple of weeks monitoring hearings, and it appears in his spare time, he popped over to the Denver Elections Division for a "voter registration sting" a la James O'Keefe–the notorious and widely-discredited hidden camera/edited footage artist whose similar sting attempts have made national news.
And like James O'Keefe, Brandon Morse doesn't appear to be very smart.
In the video above, Morse enters the Denver Elections Division to register to vote. The clerk asks Morse if he has a driver's license, and Morse answers "I don't." The clerk takes his information and instructs him to wait for a confirmation card in the mail. Morse walks out with a sly grin on his face.
What Morse doesn't say, and may not even know, is that persons in Colorado who don't produce an acceptable form of ID when registering are put into "Verify ID status," and must still produce identification to vote by mail–or in person for that matter, all of the laws on this still apply. It doesn't say so in this video, but Morse did allegedly provide the last four digits of his Social Security number, and that also works to allow the clerks to verify people's identity. Morse will respond that he wasn't required to produce a photo ID, but this video implies that nothing is verified at all–and that's simply not true.
Morse is trying to prove that it is too easy to be allowed to vote in Colorado…but he hasn't done that. At all. The only thing he has accomplished is to prove that an election clerk will take down your information if you ask to register to vote. Great work, Nancy Drew!
Here's another problem:
CLERK: And you, uh, you don't have a driver's license?
MORSE: I don't.
Did Brandon Morse break the law right there?
The blog post on Revealing Politics explains that "as a new resident of the state of Colorado, Brandon has not yet gotten any Colorado ID." But the clerk didn't ask if he had a Colorado driver's license. Even though an out-of-state ID (which Morse presumably does have) doesn't satisfy the ID requirement itself, Morse of course should have answered that he did have one. He should have said "Yes, just not a Colorado license," because that was in all likelihood the truth. When that clerk asked Morse if he had a driver's license, and Morse simply said "I don't," absent only a couple of possible circumstances like a revoked license, Brandon Morse lied.
Also, has this guy lived in Colorado for the required thirty days? He legally attested as much. Which means assuming he isn't lying about that too, he's been living here long enough to register to vote, but still hasn't been able to get a Colorado ID! Doesn't that prove a photo ID can indeed be problem for…perfectly legal voters like him?
As with all such silliness, it's up to the authorities to determine if this guy should face charges. But in an amusing twist, he's done proponents of inclusive access to the vote a service. Real-life circumstances do apparently make it harder for some legal voters to produce a photo ID–and fortunately in Colorado, we have several ways of verifying identity so that new residents of our state like Brandon Morse can exercise their rights!
We're pretty sure neither of these potential outcomes is what he intended.