Wisconsin Examiner

Activists Demand Robert Spindell’s Removal From Elections Commission

One of 10 fake electors, he also backed suppression of minority vote in Milwaukee.

By , Wisconsin Examiner - May 1st, 2024 10:20 am
Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), speaks at a press conference with other allied activist and advocacy groups. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Angela Lang, executive director of Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), speaks at a press conference with other allied activist and advocacy groups. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Controversy continues to swirl around Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Robert Spindell. On Tuesday, a gathering of voting rights advocates on Milwaukee’s predominantly African American North Side denounced Spindell as a danger to democracy and called for his resignation. The groups, including Black Leaders Organizing Communities (BLOC), Souls to the Polls, and other allied organizations, announced that they are circulating a petition in the community to show support for Spindell’s removal.

[inaritclead]After the election of 2022, in which Democratic  Gov. Tony Evers was reelected while his former Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes was defeated by less than 1 percentage point in his effort to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, Spindell sent an email to members of the 4th Congressional District Republican Party celebrating a drop in turnout within minority communities.

“… we can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2019 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic Areas,” Spindell wrote in the email.

“We’ve been busy,” said Angela Lang, executive director of BLOC in Milwaukee, during the press conference Tuesday. BLOC knocks on doors year round and engages with citizens, giving members opportunities to take the temperature of community sentiment. “People are seeing what’s happening,” said Lang. “When we talk to voters, they are disappointed that there are people that continuously try to take away and provide obstacles for their ability to vote.”

Rev. Greg Lewis, executive director of Souls to the Polls. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Rev. Greg Lewis, executive director of Souls to the Polls. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

In addition writing the controversial email connecting him to voter suppression efforts, Spindell is one of the 10 Wisconsin Republicans who cast fraudulent electoral ballots for former President  Donald Trump after President Joe Biden won in the state in 2020.

As part of a civil  settlement, Spindell and the other nine fake electors in Wisconsin admitted that they took part in an effort to overturn the election results and promised to not serve as electors in 2024.

“It is 2024, and I think we understand the political reality of this crucial election year,” said Lang. “We have two more elections this year. …  He [Spindell] should not be on the Wisconsin Election Commission for any more elections in Wisconsin.”

Rev. Greg Lewis, executive director of Souls to the Polls, said that Spindell’s “anti-democratic camp” attempted to overthrow the government by disrupting the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election. “He’s admitted he’s a fake elector that told the Big Lie claiming there were irregularities in the 2020 election,” said Lewis. “Bob Spindell’s actions were intended to keep institutionalized suppression in effect. He is part of a faction that is attempting to disenfranchise over 1.6 million voters right here in Wisconsin. In my community, people don’t believe in our system. And people like him who are in place, who are supposed to be helping folks find it easier to vote, are being so obstructive that it really helps folks believe that our system of government is not fair, and it’s not for them.” Lewis said “He works for the elections commission of Wisconsin. How crazy is that?”

The Milwaukee voting rights advocates kicked off their petition drive Tuesday, gathering signatures to call on Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg) to remove Spindell from the elections commission. When pressed about his comments, Spindell has pushed back against claims that what he expressed in his email was racially motivated. “There is no white Republican that has done more for the Black community than me, so I suggest you go back and take a look at my past record,” Spindell said earlier this year.

Why not just convince minorities to vote for you?

At the press conference Tuesday, activists asked why Republicans like Spindell prefer to see fewer Black and Latino voters cast ballots, rather than simply working to convince those voters to cast ballots for conservative candidates. “I think it’s something that’s been ground into their ethos, their way to win, their theory of change and how they get victories by keeping Black and brown folks, and working class white folks down,” Kyle Johnson, a member of BLOC in Kenosha, told Wisconsin Examiner. “Take a look at some of the photos from Washington D.C. from the Republican caucus, or different state legislatures, or just Republican space generally, and check out what the diversity is like amongst those spaces, and how many of them are older middle-aged white men. They don’t believe in multiculturalism, they don’t believe in the fact that multiethnic democracy makes us stronger. They believe that their place is on top, and the rest of our role is to serve them.”

Johnson also feels too many Republican officials and supporters are focused on increasing incarceration and keeping people in “a survival mindset,” in order to keep fewer people from voting. “I honestly don’t understand why that’s their goal, and why that’s the method that they use,” said Johnson.

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Bob Spindell |WisEye

Wisconsin Elections Commissioner Bob Spindell |WisEye

Nick Ramos, executive director of Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, feels that Republicans implement surgical  strategies  in elections. “I witness a party that goes out into the press, talks about how they can win on issues, they can win on maps that are very fair, and yet constantly under the surface, we get to unravel the voting suppression tactics,” Ramos told Wisconsin Examiner.

If there have been good faith efforts by Republicans to interface with minority voters in the past,  “I think they hit retreat on that button a long time ago,” said Ramos, “and I think that there’s just no good faith effort to actually try and listen to people on the ground here, and it’s a real travesty.”

At the same time, both Ramos and Johnson say more needs to be done on the Democratic side as well. Ramos noted a certain apathy which has developed in certain communities, where voters are tired of the “political gamesmanship” which doesn’t translate into change for their lives. “That’s why people are staying home,” said Ramos. “That’s why people are looking at this presidential election and saying we got two old white guys that don’t give a damn about me at the end of the day. And it’s a shame because we should be wanting everybody to be energized and wanting to participate in this process, because these decisions at the end of the day are going to be impacting upon them. But we got two parties that I think in this moment in time really need to be doing everything in their power to be connecting with people, and not just giving people the opportunity to chime in and share what issues really matter to them, but actually delivering that.”

“It’s tough to hear headlines about how the stock market is doing so well and we’re breaking records, when people can’t buy milk at the grocery store because prices are going up,” Johnson told Wisconsin Examiner. “People need to see their material conditions improve.” Johnson stressed that voters, “don’t want to hear so much about the Democrats versus the Republicans. They want to hear how the new library is going to be built, and new schools, and how they’re going to have clean air and drinking water, and their kids aren’t going to have to worry about getting shot. That’s what they want to hear about. So, I think a lot of folks, whether in Washington D.C. or Madison, they’ve lost sight of that fact.”

Voting rights advocates push for removing Spindell from elections commission was originally published by Wisconsin Examiner.

One thought on “Activists Demand Robert Spindell’s Removal From Elections Commission”

  1. TosaGramps1315 says:

    The Black and Brown communities continue to be under attack by the right. Voter suppression is just one of the GOP slime ball tactics, and Robert Spindell is just the mouthpiece du jour for for them. I agree he should be removed from the WEC, and I was terribly disappointed that he and the other fake elector cartoon characters weren’t charged with crimes. IMO, he and the rest of them should be in jail.
    With all of that said, I am also very saddened when I read stories like this and then read that there are significant numbers of the Black and Brown communities ready and willing to support Frump, or not vote at all.
    I can guarantee that Frump does not give a rat’s patooty about a library getting built, or new schools, and certainly not clean air and drinking water. And he absolutely does not care about parents and kids worrying whether or not kids survive a school day. He cares about one thing and one thing alone – himself.

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