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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stop voter suppression, Hans von Spakovsky, to FEC

From Steve Silverman:

I just learned from ColorOfChange that President Bush has nominated Hans von Spakovsky--one of the worst perpetrators of voter suppression in recent history--to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an agency charged with enforcing election law. Under Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, von Spakovsky led the effort within the Department of Justice (DOJ) to win elections for Republicans by disenfranchising minority voters.

It's important that members of the Senate take a stand for voting rights by refusing to confirm von Spakovsky. Can you take a moment to send a brief message to your senators?

Congressional investigations into the actions of Alberto Gonzales and the firings at the Justice Department have pointed to an even bigger scandal: that for years, the Republican party has been suppressing the vote of minority and low income voters---those most likely to vote Democratic. And Hans von Spakovsky has been at the center of the suppression strategy.

During his first term, Bush installed von Spakovsky in the Justice Department's voting rights section, which enforces the Voting Rights Act. There, von Spakovsky undermined the DOJ's historic mission of protecting minority voting rights, and actually transformed the department into a tool to suppress the vote.

When long-term, career employees at the Justice Department unanimously recommended rejecting Tom Delay's infamous Texas redistricting plan because it discriminated against minority voters, von Spakovsky led the charge to overrule these voting rights experts, and approved the plan. The Supreme Court later ruled that the plan violated the Voting Rights Act.

Similarly, when career attorneys recommended rejecting a discriminatory Georgia voter ID law -- a law that even the Republican Governor said would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Georgians -- von Spakovsky overruled them to approve the law. Again, the law was later struck down by the courts, with the ruling judge likening it to a Jim Crow-era poll tax.

Last week, seven of von Spakovsky's former colleagues at the DOJ said that he blocked career attorneys from filing at least three lawsuits against local governments that had violated the voting rights of Black people and other minorities, and that he derailed at least two DOJ investigations into discriminatory election laws.

Von Spakovsky's career in suppression didn't start at the DOJ. In 1997, he set the stage for Florida's 2000 voter purge when he wrote an article that called for purging felons from voter rolls. Serving on the board of the "Voter Integrity Project" (VIP) he quickly put his ideas into action -- VIP met with the company that designed Florida's purge to disenfranchise thousands of eligible voters, most of whom were Black.

As shocking as these examples are, they only scratch the surface. Hans von Spakovsky has made it his life mission to solidify Republican control by disenfranchising untold thousands and subverting our most fundamental democratic right.

A vote for von Spakovsky is a vote for voter suppression. Anything less than the strongest condemnation of his nomination will send a message to President Bush that the Senate will turn a blind eye to Republican attacks on our voting rights. Let's demand that our senators send the opposite message -- that they will fight tooth and nail to defend the right to vote, and that their strong rejection of von Spakovsky's nomination is only the beginning of a much needed reckoning for the assault on voting rights over the last six and a half years.

You can help make sure your senators do the right thing and oppose von Spakovsky's nomination. It takes only a moment.


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