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Judges Refuse To Reappoint Top GOP Voter Suppressor To Election Board

By Ian Millhiser  

"Judges Refuse To Reappoint Top GOP Voter Suppressor To Election Board"

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Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky may be America’s top expert on voter disenfranchisement. How to foster voter disenfranchisement, that is. As an official in the Bush Justice Department, Spakovsky pushed through gerrymandered maps benefiting Republicans, and was a driving force behind the effort to approve voter ID laws — a common voter suppression law targeting student, minority and low-income voters. Since leaving the Bush Administration, Spakovsky’s remained a leading advocate of voter suppression, often making odd claims such as arguing that a common method of disenfranchising voters actually does those voters a favor, or claiming that Attorney General Eric Holder sides with big scary black men who tamper with elections.

For the rest of this month, Spakovsky is also an elections official in Fairfax County, Virginia. In Virginia political parties control individual seats on county election boards. Both the Democratic and Republican party get to nominate three people to each of their controlled seats, but the judges in charge of selecting from among these nominees almost always take each party’s first choice. In Fairfax, the top choice of each party was selected every time a seat needed to be filled for the last 50 years.

That changed late last week, however, when judges in Fairfax Country refused to reappoint Spakovsky to the county election board he currently serves on. Although the judges who effectively removed Spakovsky did not comment on their motivation, their decision likely was informed by a letter from the Fairfax County Democratic Committee arguing that Spakovsky used his seat on the board to continue his crusade against voting rights, such as refusing to allow voter materials to be distributed in languages other than English. Spakovsky’s term expires at the end of this month.

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