DETROIT (WJBK) - Members of a political group went undercover at Tuesday's primary election, trying to get ballots that didn't belong to them. They say the experiment exposed weaknesses in the voting process and that it's now all online for everyone to see.
Many of the targets were prominent Detroiters.
"I was just shocked at first to know that someone was potentially out there impersonating me to vote in my place," said State Sen. Morris Hood (D-3rd District.)
A video was posted by Project Veritas showing an undercover journalist requesting Hood's ballot during Tuesday's primary election.
But Hood wasn't the only one, videos were posted of a Project Veritas reporter requesting a ballot for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. Also targeted in the project were members of the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board, including Brian Dickerson and Stephen Henderson, and another politician, Michigan House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel.
"In this particular instance, what they ended up demonstrating is that we have proper safeguards in place in Michigan that prevented people from casting illegal ballots and, in this case, it shows current laws are sufficient to stop voter fraud," said Rep Tim Greimel.
But the man behind Project Veritas, James O'Keefe, says the videos show how easy it is to commit voter fraud in Michigan. The nonprofit organization says it is dedicated to investigating corruption and fraud in private and public institutions,
"So we went undercover into polling locations on election day and we were offered some 20 ballots or opportunities to vote in the name of other folks simply by stating the name," he said. "Exposing the vulnerabilities of the voting system in Michigan."
James O'Keefe went to Mayor Duggan's office to talk about what he believes is a voting system in need of reform, when O'Keefe says things became what he describes as feisty.
FOX 2 caught up with city attorney Melvin Hollowell of Mayor's Duggan's office, who has a different take on the video and the encounter.
"He's just making that story up about what I told him directly (which) was voter impersonation is a crime in Michigan," Hollowell said.
"We never procured ballots," O'Keefe said. "We never took ballots but we demonstrated how easy it would be to take the step of just handing in the card. I have no interest in commuting voter fraud."
Hollowell says the videos prove that there are working safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud in the state and work should be done to get more people to vote.
"I hope the legislature will enact laws that will make voting more accommodating to people as opposed to pushing people away from the polls," he said.
FOX 2 spoke to Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey and she believes that anyone who would commit voter fraud or even attempt to commit voter fraud, is committing a crime.
In a statement, Winfrey said:
"Voting, be it in Detroit or anywhere else in our great republic, is based on an honor system. Our country guarantees the right to vote to every citizen who meets the minimum qualifications. America's 'one man one vote' system founded on Democratic principals. Those who violate this trust are akin to one who would take a loan and not have the integrity to repay it."
To see the videos, CLICK HERE for the Project Veritas page.