Home Donald Trump Hans Von Spakovsky Is On Trump’s Voter Suppression Commission. Here’s What He...

Hans Von Spakovsky Is On Trump’s Voter Suppression Commission. Here’s What He Did to Fairfax.

Han Von Spakovsky was kicked off of the Fairfax Electoral Board for voter suppression. Now, he is a proud member of Donald Trump's Voter Fraud Commission.

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On June 29, 2017, Governor McAuliffe resisted an unprecedented request from Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission for the confidential information, including voting history and the Social Security number, of every voter registered in Virginia. Nearly a year after the presidential election, Trump and his taxpayer-funded commission continue to perpetuate the lie that the popular vote was stolen because millions cast illegal ballots. The commission’s real purpose is to rationalize sweeping policies that would restrict the right to vote on a national scale. While Vice President Mike Pence, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and other leaders of the commission have their own dark histories of voter suppression, one particular member, Hans von Spakovsky, should be especially concerning to the voters of Fairfax County.

In 2012, the Fairfax County Democratic Committee sent a letter to Chief Judge Dennis Smith of the Fairfax County Circuit Court about the troubling behavior displayed by Hans Von Spakovsky, then-Vice Chairman of the Fairfax Electoral Board. Von Spakovsky had politicized his office and repeatedly tried to make it harder for Fairfax County residents to vote. In a place as diverse as our county, he removed multilingual voter registration materials from the Election Office. He removed free nonpartisan voter information provided by the League of Women Voters. During Board meetings, he repeatedly interrupted, argued with, and shouted down the Democratic representative. As a result of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee’s efforts, Von Spakovsky’s voter suppression tactics were shut down, and he lost his position on the Fairfax Electoral Board.

Von Spakovsky’s actions in Fairfax County reflect a broader career built on blocking Americans’ access to the ballot box. During his time with the Bush administration, he supported a controversial Georgia voter ID bill that was opposed by both civil rights groups and his fellow Justice Department lawyers. A federal judge would later liken the law to a Jim Crow-era poll tax. Similarly, Von Spakovsky championed a Texas redistricting bill that was struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of the Voting Rights Act. In Minnesota, he blocked an investigation into whether a proposed voter ID law would suppress the votes of Native Americans. Von Spakovsky’s history proved so disturbing that the Senate blocked his 2007 nomination to the Federal Election Commission. Representative John Lewis, the legendary civil rights activist and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, wrote that Von Spakovsky “could potentially turn back the clock on fifty years of progress.”

With such a frightening record, it would seem obvious that Hans von Spakovsky is not a suitable choice on a commission ostensibly dedicated to improving elections in America. Yet his appointment is just another sign that Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is a farce. Hardworking, law-abiding Americans would be robbed of their most fundamental rights in order to chase an imaginary enemy. Trump’s  deceitful commission is a threat to fair and honest democracy in America, and we must continue to fight this voter suppression effort and the rest of his dangerous agenda.

  • Glen Bayless

    I wish the Democratic Party of Virginia and nationally would develop and publicize a coherent program to provide steps individuals can pursue to oppose the multitude of abominable appointments, policies, proposals, etc. made by the current administration without subjecting said individuals to a barrage of requests for donations. Example…I love Mark Warner…supported him beginning in the ’90’s, but I get daily fundraising requests from him that do not even get the spelling of my name correctly. I am well aware that $$$’s are key, but so are butts to the polls and butts on the phones. C’mon Dems we can do better!

    • frankoanderson

      Hello Glen,
      It’s unfortunate that for many people, the only communication they get from the parties or candidates is the fundraising emails. There’s a lot of activity going on but it’s not being publicized enough. Here in Fairfax County the local Democrats offer a calendar of events at http://www.fairfaxdemocrats.org/calendar that’s packed with opportunities. Another great resource is http://novagrassroots.org/ which includes a multitude of ways to take action at the federal, state and local levels. It’s not a program led by a party, but it’s a good place to start. Thanks!

  • old_redneck

    In 1963, Von Spakovsky’s father was my first-year German professor at Jacksonville State University, a small liberal arts college in East Alabama. “Spud” as we called him was in his late 60’s/early 70’s at the time. His wife was much younger than he. I don’t recall Hans, however, I do recall his older sister who was a high school student at the time. Jacksonville, AL, is a small town where everyone knew everyone else, including the students.

    The elder Von Spakovsky was born in 189? or perhaps late 1880’s. He was from the Russian royalty and was a Russian cavalry officer who was on the losing side during the Russian Revolution.

    He was extremely racist and bigoted. This was in the 1960’s in Alabama. The news was filled with MLK, civil rights marches, and the like. The elder Von Spakovsky frequently would interrupt our German class with rants in mixed English and German against “the black people . . . who are savages who never contributed anything to civilization. . . ”

    I see the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

  • Harry Newman

    Check out photos of Heinrich Himmler, the head of the NAZI SS. It is very obvious that von Spakovsky had done everything possible to resemble Himmler. OK – maybe he doesn’t (publicly) wear the lightning bolts on his collars, but this attempt at emulating the appearance of Hitler’s faithful executioner is no coincidence.

    • John Farrell

      And during the open session of the Electoral Board meeting on the Sunday after the November 2012 election, he stood in a corner talking to someone in German.

  • John Farrell

    Thank you, Cesar Del Aguila for signing the letter to the Fairfax judges opposing Hans’ reappointment.

    You stood up to the many Democratic elected officials who didn’t want you “to rock the boat” enough to get Hans out of a position to which he never should have been appointed.

    One wonders if Mark Herring would have won the AG’s race in 2013 if Hans had still been on the FFX Electoral Board.