Elections official: voting system is 'strong'

May 16, 2012 3:12:45 PM PDT
There's new fallout over a web video posted by a conservative activist alleging voter fraud in North Carolina.

The state's top election official defended his agency. UNC also took action against some its staffers for their role in the video.

With his signature guerilla-television style, James O'Keefe went on the hunt in Raleigh for alleged illegal voters.

One of his operatives showed up at a Raleigh polling place in lederhosen and a thick accent -- purporting to expose how easy it for non-U.S. citizens to vote illegally.

"The system is not broke," said the Exec. Dir. of the N.C. Board of Elections, Gary Bartlett. "It is strong."

The state's top election official said an investigation is under way but said the facts so far do not suggest voter fraud is a widespread problem here.

Of the state's 6.1 million registered voters last year, 637 were red-flagged as possibly non-U.S citizens.

When investigated, at least a third turned out to be citizens. Seventy-nine were removed from the voting rolls and the rest remain red-flagged.

"Rarely do we find fraud," said Bartlett. "Yes we do find fraud, but when we do, we turn it over to prosecutors."

O'Keefe's team went undercover at UNC secretly taping at least two UNC officials, while O'Keefe's operative discussed a voter fraud scheme.

One university staffer laughed and at one point seemed to even encourage the plan.

In a statement to ABC11, UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp wrote, "While the scenarios described in the video were false, some of our administrators responded inappropriately, and we are taking disciplinary action against those who used poor judgment in their approach to these student imposters."

Thorp continued, "Our administrators are instinctively supportive of our students, and they empathize with them. But regardless of the questionable tactics used to elicit their comments, these employees should have offered better advice and guidance."  

Click here to see the O'Keefe video in its entirety.

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