Texas county official: Project Veritas broke the law filming poll workers

Texas county official: Project Veritas broke the law filming poll workers
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Project Veritas, a right-wing activist group, broke state laws in a recent video it made accusing Texas poll workers of enabling voter fraud, according to local election officials in Texas.

In the video, published on Tuesday during election day, Project Veritas said it secretly recorded two poll workers in Travis County, Texas saying that non-citizens could vote. 

The Project Veritas employee in the video asks the two poll workers whether a Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient, who she said was her boyfriend, could vote. One poll worker eventually confirms in the video that the non-citizen, if he had registered to vote, would be able to vote.

The video prompted an investigation by the Texas attorney general's office, according to the Austin American-Statesman

“This video is a violation of state laws that prohibit use of electronic devices in polling places,” Ronald Morgan, Travis County Deputy Clerk, told The Hill on Thursday.  “We referred it to the District Attorney’s office for their review.”

The Travis County District Attorney’s office did not immediately comment on Thursday night.

The Project Veritas video may violate a Texas election code that says individuals “are not allowed to use mechanical or electronic devices to record sound or images within 100 feet of the voting stations.”

When questioned about their video being illegal, a spokesperson for Project Veritas said the organization does not make that call.

“That’s not for us to determine. We’re not lawyers, we’re journalists," Marco Bruno said in an emailed statement.

The Travis County clerk also disputed the veracity of Project Veritas’s claims, saying that they had not seen evidence of non-citizens voting at the polls. The office characterized the video as a bad faith attempt to confuse poll volunteers.

“I’m not entirely convinced that the second person fully understood what a DACA recipient was," Morgan said. “I think that it’s unfortunate that the representative of Project Veritas chose to intentionally to confuse someone into giving an answer to support their agenda, while they were violating the law.”

He also derided Project Veritas’s previous projects, which included a number of undercover videos.

This is a fringe organization headed by a criminal with a history of selective editing twisting facts and manipulating reality,” Morgan said. Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s pleaded guilty to illegally entering government property in 2010, for which he received three years probation.

Morgan also defended Travis County poll workers, saying that their job is to make sure people are registered to vote, not to “begin questioning you once you have been legally registered to vote.”

“We only allow people who are legally on the rolls to vote. Period.”

Regardless, the video has picked up traction in conservative circles and has been featured on right-wing websites like Breitbart and the Daily Caller.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also saw the video and tweeted that while he couldn’t verify its accuracy, the state would launch an investigation into the matter.