A Republican member of Wisconsin’s six-member state elections commission is facing calls to resign after a reporter uncovered that he bragged about a “great and important decrease in Democrat votes” in the 2022 election in an email to fellow Republicans last month, the latest stunning show of the GOP’s willingness to openly state their goals to suppress voters and rig elections.
Election commission Vice Chair Robert Spindell hailed the Republican Party’s success in suppressing votes in Milwaukee in the November election — especially those of Black and Latinx voters — in a recent email to about 1,700 fellow Republicans, as first reported by Urban Milwaukee.
Republicans “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,” wrote Spindell, who is white. “[T]his great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” was “due to a ‘well thought out multi-faceted plan’” by Republicans, he added.
This plan involved “a substantial & very effective” campaign that led to “lots of Republican paid Election Judges & trained Observers & extremely significant continued Court Litigation,” he said. It is unclear what he means by “Republican paid Election Judges.”
Spindell wrote that this effort was made possible due to a collaboration between the Republican Party of Wisconsin’s Fourth District, which encompasses part of Milwaukee, along with other GOP groups like the RPW (presumably the Republican Party of Wisconsin) and the RNC (likely the Republican National Committee).
Democrats in the state were stunned by Spindell’s comments and called for him to resign or be removed.
“My fellow commissioner Bob Spindell has shown he cannot be fair and should resign from the WEC,” said Democratic commissioner Mark Thomsen on Twitter.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Executive Director Devin Remiker called for the Republican state Senate Majority Leader to withdraw Spindell’s commission appointment. “Bob Spindell’s effort to suppress the votes of Black and Hispanic Wisconsinites in Milwaukee is repugnant, and his continued service as a member of the Wisconsin Elections Commission is an unacceptable insult to the democratic process,” Remiker said.
“From spreading conspiracy theories about our elections, to participating in Trump’s plot to install fraudulent presidential electors, Bob Spindell has proven time and again that he is unfit and unqualified to serve as an elections commissioner,” Remiker continued.
Spindell, who is a defendant in three separate lawsuits related to his role as a fake elector in Donald Trump’s plot to steal the 2020 election, has rebuffed the calls and says he stands by his comments.
Wisconsin advocacy group Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) denounced Spindell’s comments. “Many of us have been sounding the alarm about how sinister voter suppression tactics have become, and Spindell’s comments reinforces what we already knew,” BLOC said in a statement. “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.”
Indeed, Spindell’s shockingly frank comments are just one of a string of statements made by Republicans who have openly called for less people to be able to cast a ballot or for the erosion of Democratic and left-leaning voters’ ability to vote in particular.
In 2021, Arizona Republican then-state Rep. John Kavanagh, now a state senator, said that “everybody shouldn’t be voting” when asked about the reasoning behind the wave of voter suppression laws being pushed by the GOP.
Meanwhile, shortly before the general election last year, Wisconsin Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels vowed that, if he were elected, he would block Democrats from ever winning an election again. “Republicans will never lose another election in Wisconsin after I’m elected governor,” he said. Michels ultimately lost to Democrat Tony Evers.