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Republican Elections Official Brags About All the Racist Voter Suppression He’s Helped Oversee

A protester wearing a face mask holds a small sign reading "black voters matter"

Well, it’s official, cannibal sandwiches are no longer the most disgusting thing in Wisconsin. (For the uninformed, that’s raw ground beef on a slice of bread, topped with raw onion, and seasoned with salt and pepper, and it’s considered a Wisconsin delicacy. I don’t get it either but it fascinates me.) No, that honor now belongs to Commissioner Robert Spindell, a Republican member of Wisconsin’s bipartisan elections commission who bragged about lower voter turnout for Black and Brown voters in the Milwaukee area. How do we know he bragged? He put it in a damn email, like a deranged parent boasting about their child’s accomplishment. What is it with Republicans documenting their BS for the world to see lately?

From UrbanMilwaukee.com:

Republican Robert Spindell, a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, is proud as a peacock of the work Republicans did to suppress the vote in Milwaukee in the November 2022 election. Spindell, who also serves as chairperson of the party’s Fourth Congressional District, which includes much of Milwaukee County and almost all of the city of Milwaukee, sent an email to Republicans in the district hailing the party’s success at undermining the democratic process:

“In the City of Milwaukee, with the 4th Congressional District Republican Party working very closely with the RPW, RNC, Republican Assembly & Senate Campaign Committees, Statewide Campaigns and RPMC in the Black and Hispanic areas, we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.”

Can we point out the obvious first, please? If your entire party’s goal for winning is that people have to stay home in order to do so, you’ve already lost, dude. From the above article, this is where it gets, well, suppressive-y:

“…this great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” was due to a “well thought out multi-faceted plan,” Spindell bragged, that included:

  • “Biting Black Radio Negative Commercials run last few weeks of the election cycle straight at Dem Candidates…
  • A substantial & very effective Republican Coordinated Election Integrity program resulting with lots of Republican paid Election Judges & trained Observers & extremely significant continued Court Litigation.”

OK, the litigation part is probably the most significant according to the article, even though all of it is a big ball of awful because the Republicans want to make it harder to vote, which we all knew already.

Urban Milwaukee shared these comments with Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Ben Wikler, who was momentarily stunned.

“Wow,” Wikler said. “That’s as ugly as it gets. I have never seen someone take credit so blatantly for suppressing the vote. We saw the same techniques with the Russian effort to suppress the vote in 2016.”

[…] But Wikler also points to successful efforts by Republican officials to use the law and court cases to eliminate the use of absentee ballot boxes and reduce the period for early voting from six weeks to two weeks. Both methods of voting had helped drive the high turnout in Milwaukee in 2018. “Republicans have done all they could to make it harder for Milwaukee voters in particular,” he charges.

So, what happens when you get caught red-handed proudly bragging about suppressing the votes when you’re supposed to be part of a bipartisan committee to oversee elections?

You lie and walk it back! Obviously. That’s a cushy gig, and you want to be in a position of power to help suppress more votes. Duh. Per PBS Wisconsin:

Commissioner Robert Spindell, who also served as a fake elector for former Republican President Donald Trump, said his comments sent in an email to about 1,700 people in December were not bragging about voter suppression.

“I will not stand for that,” Spindell said in an interview. “The last thing I want to do is suppress votes.”

Oh yeah, fun twist, Spindell was part of Trump’s failed coup to overthrow the 2020 Presidential election as a fake elector. Don’t worry, as a result of that poor life choice, he’s got multiple lawsuits against him now. According to PBS Wisconsin:

Spindell is also a defendant in three separate pending lawsuits related to him serving as a fake GOP elector.

One in federal court seeks $2.4 million in damages from Spindell and the other fake electors, alleging that they were part of conspiracy by Trump to overturn the election. Another lawsuit in Dane County circuit court alleges that Spindell should have recused himself from a complaint filed with the Wisconsin Elections Commission seeking action against the fake electors, of which Spindell was one. A third lawsuit alleged Spindell did not comply with the state open records law for documents requested related to his being a fake elector.

What is the logic here? Sir, you are already under investigation, why are you engaging in more shady practices?! Do you just like seeing your name in print? Are you making a scrapbook of your crimes and need more material??

Obviously, he is facing calls for resignation. Also obviously, Spindell isn’t going to do that because he loves power and if three active lawsuits won’t make him resign, this won’t either. The only person who can remove him from his position is State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, and guess what party affiliation he has? That’s right! Republican! So who knows what will happen but I’m not holding my breath.

Let’s let BLOC, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, which is based in Milwaukee, have the last word, here.

That statement reads:

It is incredibly racist to brag about lowering Black and Brown turnout, it is also unacceptable to have these comments and views held by an election official. An official who was involved in the scheme to submit alternate elector in the 2020 Presidental election. Bob Spindell and Ron Johnson are of the same min — misinform, confuse, and disinfranchise Black voters to wine community trust in our democtatic process. His comments show blatant bias. Bob Spindell and his allies are the only ones who are intentially underminine our demogratice process. We join call from various grassroots partners for State Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to rescind Spindell’s appointment to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. If we truly want to live the values of our Democracy, we must take a firm stance against those in power subverting Wisconsinites’ constitutional rights.

(image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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