Category Archives: von Spakovsky

Election Integrity in Nevada: How Safe Is Safe?

We have a President of the United States of America who appears singularly uninterested in investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.  Nothing has originated from the Oval Office to indicate he is curious about (a) Russian intrusions into some 21 to 39 state election systems; (b) Russian disinformation efforts during the 2016 elections; and (c) European efforts to blunt Russian cyber attacks on their elections.  Perhaps there’s nothing surprising about this, he’s shown precious little interest in:

(1) Bolstering NATO nation confidence in US support for their interests in addressing Russian incursions into Crimea, Ukraine, and the Baltic States; (2) Extending or enhancing sanctions on Russia for these incursions; (3) Maintaining the sanctions initiated by the Obama Administration including the removal of the Russians from two facilities used for intelligence purposes.   And, now the President wants to have something to “offer” the Russians during the upcoming meetings of the G20.

“President Donald Trump has asked National Security Council staff to come up with “deliverables” that he can offer to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Germany next week, The Guardian reported Thursday.”  [Business Insider]

At this juncture it would seem necessary for citizens in Nevada to multi-task.  On one hand we need to insure that the Administration isn’t encouraged to promote its voter suppression program, at present in the form of Chris Kobach’s extensive request for voter data which will be massaged into a report which will no doubt encourage more voter suppression legislation.  There’s nothing wrong with sharing the information any county chairperson can obtain from the voting registrar or the county clerk, but there’s all manner of things wrong with asking for military status,  Social Security numbers or portions thereof, voting history, and other personal data NOT previously part of the public record.  The Nevada Secretary of State has responded in the following press release:

“Many people have asked whether or not the Secretary of State’s office plans to comply with the request from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for voter registration information in Nevada.  Other than the previously identified confidential information, state law (NRS 293.558) prohibits election officials from withholding voter registration information from the public.  In addition, the state’s Public Records Act requires government entities to allow for inspection of public records.  As a result, the Secretary of State’s office will provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with only the publicly available voter registration information under Nevada law.”

Thus much for Kobach’s grand plan for a 50 state data accumulation of personal voting histories and “targets” for vote suppression.  However, we can reasonably predict that this will not be the end of Kobach and Von Spakovsky’s efforts to impede voting by the elderly, the young, and minority ethnic group members; in short, people who are likely to vote for Democratic candidates.

On the other hand, we need to watch out for insecurities in our own electoral systems.  One element, of course, is the integrity of our mechanical and electronic voting machines.  For those wishing to delve into the weediest of the weeds should refer to NAC Chapter 293B which specifies how these are to be maintained, tested, and audited, which led Verified Votin g.Org to declare Nevada’s overall performance as “generally good.”  Additional information concerning Nevada’s audit limitations can be found on this Verified Voting page.   We have some soft spots, but none of these seem like major issues at the moment, and most appear to be capable of repair by a legislature paying attention to the details.

Now, we need a third hand.  Since the intelligence agencies at the Federal level haven’t released the names of those states (21 to 39) which suffered Russian intrusion, we don’t know if Nevada is among the list.  The only ones which have self-identified to date are Illinois and Arizona.  This situation raises more questions:

(1)  Is the voter registration data maintained by the Secretary of State’s office fully secure and safe from hacking?  Is access to this information secured in such a way as to prevent unlawful or illicit compromise?  What tests are performed to verify the security, and by whom are the tests conducted?  To whom are the results reported? Are those receiving the test reports empowered to fix any and all issues discovered?

(2) Is the voter registration data maintained at the local level secure from unauthorized access?  Is there sufficient funding and expertise at the local level to conduct tests of access security?  Is the ‘calendar’ of security testing at the local level adequate to prevent unauthorized or illicit access?  Are there “gaps” in access security, such that some localities are more secure than others?

(3) Are local voting systems/machines secure from unauthorized access and tampering?  Is the State (or local agencies) doing adequate security testing and auditing of results? Are our present systems safe, or is there more we could be doing?  Do we need to consider more in the way of risk limitation auditing .

It’s now beginning to look like we need to have some more hands involved, rather more like an octopus to get a handle on all the questions.

There are some things that Nevada may not have the capacity to do on its own.  We probably shouldn’t be required to conduct our own “elves vs. trolls” in the manner of the Lithuanian government’s efforts to fight off disinformation campaigns.  Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Baltic nations, Sweden and the European Union have all devised national and cross-border efforts to publicize and blunt Russian efforts. [WP]

It would be extremely helpful to have a federal Executive Branch more engaged in countering Russian meddling than in vote suppression and declaring the obvious FACT of Russian cyber assaults to be Fake News.

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Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics, von Spakovsky, Vote Suppression, Voting

Good Morning: The Administration wants all your voting data, and wants to make it public

The President’s “election commission,” established to cover his allegations that millions of illegal voters prevented His Vulgarity from attaining triumph in the popular vote, is requesting voter roll data from all 50 states. Nevada is included in this list.

“On Wednesday, all 50 states were sent letters from Kris Kobach — vice chair for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — requesting information on voter fraud, election security and copies of every state’s voter roll data.

The letter asked state officials to deliver the data within two weeks, and says that all information turned over to the commission will be made public. The letter does not explain what the commission plans to do with voter roll data, which often includes the names, ages and addresses of registered voters. The commission also asked for information beyond what is typically contained in voter registration records, including Social Security numbers and military status, if the state election databases contain it.” [ProPublica]  (emphasis added)

There are many layers of just how wrong this is.   First, and most obviously, why worry about Russian hacking into voter roll information for the purpose of making mischief if everything they want is right out there in public view?  Nothing like One Stop Shopping for voter data for the Kremlin?

Secondly,  conspicuously absent from the letter is any indication about what processes and procedures will be applied to protect voters’ privacy.  Mr. Kobach’s documented sloppy handling of his Cross Check program data is not reassuring.

Third, while full Social Security numbers may not be included, even partial number releases may be a bridge too far for those concerned with identity theft; and, does the Pentagon really want the status of members of the Armed Forces right out there for all the world to see?  How handy for the Bad Guys to have an instant way of finding out a soldier’s home address?

Finally (for the moment) there’s the purpose for which all this data is sought — rest assured, it’s NOT for the purpose of “election integrity,” in fact given the participation of Kobach and Von Spakovsky the obvious intent is to scramble the data for inclusion in a “report proving” that there’s a “need” for more voter suppression.

Nevada citizens who do NOT want their voter data/records shared in this haphazard and insecure way should call the office of Nevada’s Secretary of State: 775-684-5708, fax 775-684-5725; or e-mail at <>

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Filed under Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics, von Spakovsky, Vote Suppression, Voting

A Vote Supressed Is An Election Stolen

What makes this country truly exceptional, more exceptional than all the jingoistic, flag waving, bombastic rhetoric in any stump speech, is very simple. Americans have the RIGHT to vote.  Voting isn’t a privilege earned, it is a right protected.  There is no other way to maintain a republic than to protect voting rights.

There is nothing less “American” than seeking to suppress the votes of others.  We no longer tolerate abuses like the nefarious Poll Taxes of recent memory. We no longer tolerate night riders “warning off” individuals who might want to exercise their voting rights.  We no longer tolerate the fraudulent “literacy tests” for voting in which African Americans were asked exceedingly complicated questions on fine points of Constitutional law and failed for misspelling a word or misapplying punctuation.   The night riders, poll taxes, and literacy tests might be part of the recent past, but there are now new ways to accomplish the same insidious ends.

The List Purge Fraud

Florida leads the nation in this vestige of racism and elitism.  “Oh, they said, “We must purge our voter rolls of individuals who might not be eligible to vote in our elections, lest the votes of ‘real voters’ be diminished.”   Really?

The Orlando Sentinel reported that of 37,000,000 votes cast there were only 178 allegations of voting fraud. [link]  Do the math. The percentage of questionable votes?  0.0005%.   That’s precious little diminishment using anyone’s calculator.

Further, what’s  alleged and what’s prosecutable are two different things:

“David Iglesias, the Republican U.S. attorney for New Mexico who was fired by the Bush administration, said that he looked at over 100 claims of alleged voter fraud but found not a single prosecutable case. “We cannot prosecute on rumor and innuendo,” Iglesias told the Albuquerque Journal (3/15/07). (His refusal to prosecute cases that he felt were bogus was a central feature in his firing, as it was in the cases of nearly half of the 12 U.S. attorneys ousted by the administration—Washington Post, 5/14/07.) Iglesias’ findings are consistent with national data. Federal records “show that only 24 people were convicted or pleaded guilty to illegal voting between 2002 and 2005” (Project Vote, 3/5/07).   [Bybee]

The Bush Administration’s study should have been the end of the fraudulent allegations of “fraud:”

“You are more likely to be struck by lightning than to find a prosecutable case of voter fraud. An extensive analysis of data from all fifty states by the U.S. Justice Department under President Bush found that incidents of voter fraud are exceedingly rare and would not be solved by state photo ID. It is a solution without a problem.”  [TAProj]

The Problem is that Republicans believe that they aren’t getting elected because of “voter fraud.”  It has become an article of faith.  It has become a clarion call for outrage and action, all predicated upon the simple fears of gullible people.   Study after study has found that the newest incarnation of the Poll Tax-Literacy Test voting suppression tactics — the voter ID laws — primarily prevent members of ethnic minorities and the elderly from voting.

And the GOP response: “Better to deny a few women in black the right to vote than to let hundreds of illegals swarm the voting booths and assert their “rights” in America.  You liberals need an attitude adjustment.” [TFL]

There it is, the article of faith, faith that “illegals” will “swarm” into voting booths.  Note that the commenter doesn’t say that this has happened, there’s far too much proof to the contrary.  The commenter fears this “will” happen. It is a blind, irrational, unsubstantiated fear, but for the average xenophobic bigot it is part of their self constructed ‘reality.’

Members of ethnic minority communities have long been the targets of vote suppression, but why target the elderly?   Although it has been argued that the elderly are more likely to support popular programs like Social Security and Medicare and are therefore a target of vote suppression activities, they may also be unintended victims.   Blithe promises to “get everyone an ID” are hollow when the offices at which the identification cards can be obtained are far from an elderly non-driver’s home, or are not open when an elderly person could get transportation.  The promises are even more ludicrous when the forms of identification necessary are impossible or expensive for elderly persons to obtain.

Those who still might remain unconvinced that after elderly nuns being denied their voting rights, and an 86 year old World War II veteran was denied his vote,  a former four term member of Congress was denied voting, and an elderly widow in Kansas couldn’t get a voting ID, there isn’t a calculated effort to deliberately restrict voting for partisan advantage, then why not take the word of those doing the suppressing?

There’s Jim Greer, former head of the Florida Republican Party:

“Greer talked about how he was invited into many discussions as the head of the GOP in Florida, so he knows where some particularly rotten bodies are buried. There were discussions that early voting was going against Republicans, and so they should shorten it to prevent African American churches from organizing to bring out the vote for early voting. Greer had even given sworn deposition that there were discussions on suppression, but never once in his 3 1/2 years as GOP Chair of Florida had he seen a meeting on voter fraud; he went so far as to call it a “marketing tool of radical Republicans” in state government.” [HuffPo]

There’s Rep. Mike Turzai in Pennsylvania:

In June, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai listed off a number of legislative accomplishments. “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania: Done,” Turzai said. [DemN] [YouTube]

What To Do?

Stay Informed.  ALEC and its Republican allies rushed voter identification bills through state legislatures in preparation for the 2012 elections.  However, grass roots organization defeated some onerous measures in New Hampshire and Maine [YDA] and nothing so diminishes the possibility of passing vote suppression bills like a bit of daylight.

Be Prepared.  Know what the voting laws are in your state, and be prepared to vote.  Bookmark Project Vote for updated information.   If you are already registered to vote check your registration status with local election officials.   In the immortal words of the flight attendant: Put your own oxygen mask on first (check on your own voting status) and then be prepared to help others around you.

Be Aware: Of what constitutes voter intimidation.   Of what constitutes voter caging.  Of what is involved in No Match No Vote schemes.

Be Helpful. Check with elderly voters to see if they need assistance gathering the documentation necessary to vote, or who might need transportation to a registration office or polling station.   Check on disabled people you know who may have difficulty registering, or might need assistance getting to polling stations.  Find out what a disabled person who can no long write well enough for a signature match should do in your election district.  Check with young people you know who need information about voting, especially if it is their first time.

We are, indeed, in danger of having elections stolen in this country. However, the danger doesn’t come from imaginary waves of hypothetical swarming aliens all seeking to desecrate our polling stations with fraudulent votes.  The danger comes from the bigoted, the fearful, and the ignorant who have drunk the Kool-Aid and accept the right wing talking points as gospel, and who seek to influence elections by insuring that people unlike themselves are denied the RIGHT to vote.

*Previous –  post on this subject here, and here.

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>The von Spakovsky Defense: Reid calls out White House on McConnell stall

>Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has asked President Bush to either drop vote suppression specialist Hans von Spakovsky [BCJ] from his roster of FEC nominees, or to persuade Senate Republicans to allow individual votes to fill the agency’s five vacancies. Reid wrote to White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten on Monday saying, “Despite your commitment that you would accept and agree to individual votes on each of the pending nominations, including Mr. von Spakovsky’s, Republican Senate leaders indicated last week that they intend to continue to block such votes. This continued obstructionism will prevent the FEC from its important work during this election season, including issuing advisory opinions, rulemakings, enforcement actions and certification of public financing.” [CREW] Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has launched a website, “Fix the FEC” that includes an e-mail campaign to put pressure on Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to stop obstructing the votes. (emphasis added)

The announcement from CREW concerning the “Fix the FEC” site and campaign included a statement from Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, “Since Senator McConnell has dug in his heels and refused to allow for a vote, the nation’s election watchdog has been muzzled right when we need it most. Incredibly, the FEC cannot address any complaints against presidential candidates or a series of public financing questions.” “With no one on the watch, who’s to say some unscrupulous souls won’t violate the law in order to gain advantage in an election? Once an election is over there is no unseating the winners, whether or not they played by the rules.” [CREW]

One all too obvious conclusion that can be drawn from the vacillations of the White House is that neither Bush nor McConnell want an FEC at the ready while Senator John McCain’s use of public campaign funds to secure loans remains in question, or while there are active complaints about the activities of right wing smear shops like Sheldon Adelson’s Freedom’s Watch. The White House appears to have kicked the ball back to Senate Minority Leader McConnell, thus making it possible for the Administration to offer the “we tried” excuse for inaction. This, in turn, brings other conclusions to mind.

Either the President has truly become irrelevant or Senator McConnell feels no compunction to cooperate with White House assurances to Senator Reid that there would be individual votes, or Senator McConnell has agreed to hold the ball in his back court until it can reasonably be tossed back to the White House. One prospect is pathetic, and the other is completely cynical.

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Filed under FEC, McConnell, Reid, von Spakovsky, Vote Suppression

>Bits and Pieces: News round up


To Your Health: For those intending to contact Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV2) about his unconscionable vote against SCHIP, Perrspectives offers some background information on the unfortunate history of George W. Bush and the entire issue of health care coverage for children, going back to his days as the governor of Texas. This is not a path, one would think, that Rep. Heller, nor any other members of Congress would consider following unless they are truly opposed to offering health services to the children of poor and working families. DemFromCT summarizes the Republican strategy for defeating the program “Lie about SCHIP. It’ll Work, Trust Me” in which the GOP sends out mis-information (like illegal immigrants can sign up – they can’t) to drum up opposition. The Carpetbagger comments on “Bush’s not so compassionate conservativism” and highlights an exchange between the President and a senior citizen that demonstrates that ‘he is who we thought he was,’ the same man who thinks that people have health care if they can find an emergency room. “Bush veto strategy threatens Republicans” [McClatchy]

The Department of Agriculture knew that millions of frozen hamburger patties were contaminated but waited 18 days before issuing a recall. In the meantime a Florida teenager was hospitalized with kidney failure from e.coli. [BG]

Blackwater…keep on rolling: Perrspectives also takes a look at “The Meaning of Blackwater,” and concludes that the “unaccountable, grotesquely overpaid private security firms” drawing fire on Capitol Hill offer evidence that “mercenary forces simply should have no place in the national security structure of an American democracy.” This is substantiated by the New York Times report on the cover up of Iraq shootings. The Washington Post reports on the House passage of a bill to make all private contractors subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Opponents of Blackwater’s plans to build a 220 acre “camp” 45 miles east of downtown San Diego are hoping that the adverse publicity will stop the project. [LAT]

MessO’Potamia: The Kurdish Regional Government has reached four new oil exploration deals “further straining relations with many Iraqi leaders in Baghdad.” [NYT] One deal is with Canadian Heritage Oil, another with the French Perenco S.A, details haven’t been released on the other two.

Roadside bombs killed the Shi’ite mayor of Iskandariya, a member of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, and Sheikh Muawiya was wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near his motorcade. [Reuters] A WHO expert reports that cholera is spreading from Iraq to Iran. [Reuters]

The family of National Guard soldier Ciara Durkin is reported to be pleased that the Pentagon will conduct an investigation into her death in Afghanistan. [BG]

The Gavel summarizes the oversight hearings on corruption in Iraq, complete with video of opening statements and questions. TPMM documents Rep. John “Obsessed With Clinton” Mica’s (R-FL) exchange with Radhi Hamza al Rahdhi, who asked back, “Don’t you think this (corruption) deserves follow up and attention?” The Washington Post reports on the former top Iraqi corruption investigator’s testimony today.

Bush wants to be Bauer? There’s analysis aplenty on the Torture Memo 2.0 now revealed by the New York Times in “Secret U.S. endorsement of severe interrogations.” The Washington Post reports that the White House claims the memo didn’t change the 2004 policy; a contention the House Judiciary Committee isn’t buying. Meanwhile a court has ordered that the U.S. must inform a detainee’s lawyer if the detainee is being transferred to another location. [LAT]

Deal or No Deal? The deal in which champion vote suppressor Hans Von Spakovsky might get a seat on the Federal Election commission is off, blocked by Senator Barack Obama. [TPMM] According to the previous arrangement a voice vote on the other nominees would take place only if no senators objected to Von Spakovsky…they did. Deal off.

“Judge denies Craig’s request to withdraw guilty plea; says claim was illogical” [Idaho Statesman] [USAT]

Over-paid bureaucrats? No, says a Federal Salary Council report that sees the gap between government and private sector pay widening. [GovExec]

Nevada news roundup at Blue Sage Views

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>How Republicans plan to win in 2008?

>By cheating. Just because there is a flashlight worth of transparency on the issue of voting rights in America, doesn’t mean that the machinations of Senator John Ensign (R-NV) and the rest of the loyal Republicans are finished in their attempt to game a few Democratic Party inclined percentage points out of the 2008 elections. Their track record of late speaks to this loudly and clearly.

Organization Suppression: Senator Ensign’s latest maneuvering on behalf of the GOP, to add an amendment to the bill requiring electronic campaign filings that would require the release the names of member-donors of organizations that file ethics charges, is a blatant attempt to interfere with freedom of association. As noted in the previous post, this Segregation Era proposal aims at nothing less than suppressing organizations that promote the exercise of citizenship, and act as watchdogs over the electoral process. [DB] [Rules Com PR]

Voter Registration Suppression: The state of Florida enacted a voter registration law two years ago that could depress voting by members of minority groups, especially African Americans. [MH] The Florida statute would disenfranchise voters if their voter registration information doesn’t exactly match state database files. This places the voter at the mercy of anyone entering data, and would penalize the individual vote for typographical errors made by state or federal agency employees. An example of this might well be the transposition of two numbers on an individual’s driver’s license. Further, a woman whose Social Security number is issued under her maiden name would be rejected if her voter registration information is under her married name; or, a person whose Social Security card was issued to “William” could not vote if registered as “Bill.” The system also imperils the votes of Hispanic citizens who may use maternal and paternal surnames. “Gabriel García Márquez, for example, if listed in one system with “Márquez” as a last name and in another system with “García Márquez” as a last name, would be affected by the Florida law.” [Brennan Center] [Project Vote]

Florida also enacted a draconian voter registration law, which even as recently modified makes voter registration drives a perilous venture for civic organizations like the League of Women Voters. “Florida’s new law will impose escalating penalties on voter registration groups that do not file new registrant’s forms within a limited time frame. The rules also hold organizations liable for innocent mistakes, a third party’s malicious acts (including those of disgruntled employees or political opponents), and potentially even the state’s mishandling or loss of applications. After the original registration law went into effect in 2006, the League of Women Voters of Florida stopped registering voters for the first time in its 67-year history. The AFL-CIO and SEIU also ceased their registration efforts.” [Brennan Center] The Department of Justice is expected to rule on this in the next few weeks.

The states of Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Vermont have all received letters from DoJ Voting Section chief John Tanner notifying them that 10% or more of their jurisdictions have more registered voters than voting age population, and were requested to show how they had effected the “removal of persons no longer eligible to vote.” The calculation was derived from a flawed 2004 NVRA report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. [DKos] By the way, it’s actually easy to fall into the 10% category if one remembers that people who move often don’t bother to cancel their registrations in their former precinct.

Vote suppression: Indiana’s Republican controlled legislature enacted a voter photo identification statute that will be the subject of a Supreme Court ruling this term. [WaPo] The U.S. Court of Appeals split on partisan lines in its ruling; “Judge Richard A. Posner, who wrote for a majority of the 7th Circuit in upholding the law, said, “Voting fraud impairs the right of legitimate voters to vote by diluting their votes.” A dissenter, Judge Terence T. Evans, responded: “Let’s not beat around the bush. The Indiana voter photo ID law is a not-too-thinly veiled attempt to discourage election-day turnout by folks believed to skew Democratic.” [WaPo] [WaPo] Given the current composition of the U.S. Supreme Court it’s hard to imagine the court doing anything other than narrowing down the question such that the court finds it possible to uphold the Indiana statute.

Vote compromising: Republicans on the Ohio State Controlling Board, which has jurisdiction over voting machines, blocked an attempt by the state Secretary of State to test Ohio’s voting machines for accuracy. [Columbus Free Press] via Dkos Florida voters are still suffering with failing machines which one major newspaper described as “junk.” [Miami Herald] California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, by contrast, has done a top to bottom review of that state’s voting equipment. [SOS-CA] (*individual manufacturer reports are in PDF format)

Politicization of the Election Crimes Prosecution Manual: U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) followed up on her questioning of then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales concerning the Bush administration revisions weakening provisions intended to prevent politically motivated prosecutions with a letter to the Department of Justice. Senator Feinstein was less than pleased with the DoJ’s response in August 2007: I appreciate the Department’s attempt to respond to the issues I raised at the hearing. The letter, however, is inadequate and fails to address the specific questions I asked. Moreover, it advances an interpretation of new Seventh Edition of the election crimes prosecution manual that ignores major changes that have been made,” Senator Feinstein wrote in her letter to the Attorney General. Taken together, the changes suggest that the Department has revised the manual to allow prosecutions that it knows will be used for partisan political advantage during the election process. That would be a grave departure from the Department’s traditional mission of securing justice for all Americans.” [Rules Com PR] (emphasis added) The guidelines to which Senator Feinstein objected are still in place, and still allow partisan prosecutions that could significantly alter elections.

Complicating the situation with these five “campaigns against democracy” is the fact that the FEC will be no help whatsoever, as it will now be frozen in a 3-3 tie since the Republicans on the Senate Rules Committee, with the assistance of Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), thwarted Senator Feinstein’s attempt to get individual votes on the nominees today. Thus, the rather infamous Hans von Spakovsky, whose hand appeared in many of the issues outlined above, will be part of a block approval motion on the Senate floor. [DKos]

See also: “New Barriers to Voting” Serving the Voter, League of Women Voters PDF

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>Did Reid Deal with the Devil? von Spakovsky nomination before the Rules Committee

>If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) are willing to cut a deal on the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky to the Federal Election Commission in order to assure the candidacy of Cynthia Bauerly, then an apt analogy might be that they are perfectly willing to allow a fox to park his tail right in the midst of the henhouse. [CLC] The Campaign Legal Center explains here and here and here why von Spakovsky is perhaps the least credible member of any bureau charged with protecting the sanctity of our voting.

The Senate Rules Committee has scheduled an executive business meeting for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 26, 2007 to consider von Spakovsky’s nomination for a full term on the FEC.

The Roll Call article [sub required] explains: Bauerly’s expected nomination comes as Senate Democrats appear less hostile to the nomination for a full term of Republican Hans von Spakovsky, a controversial former Justice Department official who became embroiled in the ongoing U.S. attorneys scandal during recent months. Von Spakovsky, along with other agency commissioners, currently are serving White House recess appointments that expire at the end of the year. To remain on the commission, von Spakovsky — as well as his three current and two potential colleagues — must be confirmed by the full Senate.” There are no particularly good reasons for von Spakovsky to be confirmed by the full Senate, but there are ample reasons why he shouldn’t.

Some of those latter reasons are set forth by ePluribusMedia, OMBWatch, Project Vote, and The Nation. More information is available at Think Progress, and Desert Beacon “…No on von Spakovsky”

From that previous post:

(1) He played a major role in injecting partisan politics into the decision making process on law enforcement and hiring practices.
(2) He abandoned personnel management practices designed to shield career employees from partisanship, and advancement was more often predicated on partisan fidelity than for legal capacity and competence.
(3) He demanded that supervisors alter performance evaluations for individuals with whom he did not agree.
(4) He refused to recuse himself from the GA voter ID issue although his position on the matter was not based on evidence, and was well known to be biased in favor of the Georgia proponents of the measure. In addition, during the consideration of the matter he published an article in favor of the proposal under a pseudonym in a Texas law journal.
(5) When a career employee objected to the preclearance of the Georgia statute, Mr. von Spakovsky and Deputy Asst. AG Bradley Schlozman rifled the individual’s e-mails for fodder to use in an OPR complaint. The OPR tossed the complaint as frivilous.
(6) He tried to impede the enforcement of the Help America Vote Act by recommending that voters be kept off the rolls for typographical errors or other mistakes made by election officials; tried to pressure the EAC chairman into rescinding a letter indicating that Arizona should use federal voter registration forms that did not include documentary proof of citizenship; and, drafted legal briefs supporting Republicans concerning elections in Ohio, Michigan, and Florida just before the 2004 election — in violation of the policy of not letting the Civil Rights Division inject itself into politics on the eve of an election.
(7) He demanded that states purge voter lists under section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 2005 in spite of the fact that there was lack of evidence of “registration deadwood,” and the efforts were to be focused on Missouri and New Jersey (states with a tight partisan split) and not Texas and Utah, where the rolls were either equally or more inflated. [CLC ]

If these seven reasons aren’t sufficient to prevent Mr. von Spakovsky’s membership on the FEC, then it’s hard to imagine what would be.

Contact Information:

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) Las Vegas # 702-388-5020; Reno # 775-686-5750; Rural # 775-686-5750; Washington DC # 1-866-736-7343 (toll free for Nevada residents)

Senate Committee on Rules and Administration: Washington DC # 202-224-6352


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