A video titled “Safeway Voter Registration” uploaded to YouTube by user golddiggermom has been making the rounds on Facebook and Fark, and the origins of the clip are not clear, but what it depicts, if accurate, is disturbing.
The “Safeway Voter Registration” video began circulating Saturday night, and, in the lead up to the election, such shenanigans are not entirely uncommon. What it shows is one of two things: either a young woman illegally attempting to register only Republican voters or perhaps a Democrat plant pretending that there are Republicans out there registering only Republican voters.
When the video hit, I unscientifically contacted my mom to confirm what I was seeing. My mother is an employee of our local Board of Elections, and I wanted to verify that, if accurately portrayed, the woman filmed in the video was engaging in actions prohibited by federal voter laws.
She confirmed that if the clip is indeed not a fake; the presentation of a “poll” as a ruse to register voters for Mitt Romney only is indeed not legal, and that laws prohibit it. In the clip, a woman (off-camera, clearly using an iPhone) approaches a young and smiling woman with a clipboard ostensibly outside an El Paso, Colorado Safeway store.
The young woman visible in the tape claims she’s “polling people” and asks the shopper if she would vote for Romney or Obama. The woman off camera says that she understood that the woman was registering voters, not polling as she initially stated.
The young worker then admits she is “trying to register people for a particular party” and adds “we’re out here in support of Romney, actually.” By law, specific demographics may be targeted, but all registrations must be processed regardless of party affiliation or likelihood of any individual voting for any candidate.
When pressed on who pays her to process Republican only registrations, the young woman stammers and then has to think, finally claiming or simply admitting that the County Clerk’s office is paying her. The filmer becomes incredulous and tells the young woman she is prohibited by law from suppressing Democrat votes in El Paso County, at which time the girl covers her face. Asked again, she denies saying that she would only register Republican voters.
Pressed again, she admits that “we’re trying to [only register Republicans], to be honest” and when asked her name, appears to utter an expletive that is bleeped out. The filming woman then says, “that’s all I need honey bunch,” and the clip ends.
Since the video began circulating, the El Paso County Clerk’s office released a statement addressing the clip and confirming that the young woman does indeed not work for their office and that all voters must be registered regardless of affiliation.
El Paso County Clerk & Recorder Wayne Williams, a former chairman of the El Paso Republican Party, commented:
“The statement made in this video is both unfortunate and inaccurate … My office does not and will not engage in partisan voter registration. It is the duty of the Clerk’s office to ensure that elections are conducted in a fair and honest manner, this includes allowing any one to register to vote regardless of their political party affiliation.”
A local news source indicates the young woman depicted in the video is a volunteer for the Romney campaign.
As voter suppression emerges as an ever larger issue this election, the clip below may serve as one recorded bit of compelling evidence for potential voter suppression in some regions.
You can watch the “Safeway Voter Registration” clip below. Have you witnessed individuals or campaign volunteers engaging in shady voter registration tactics in your state?