Letter: Preserving Electoral Board Integrity

Letter: Preserving Electoral Board Integrity

To the Editor:

Keith Damon wrote a letter to the editor (The Connection, March 8, 2013) in which he professes to be “upset” over a decision to remove Hans von Spakovsky from the Fairfax County Electoral Board. Mr. Damon misinforms Connection readers about a number of facts and omits others that are relevant.

First, contrary to Mr. Damon’s implication that the Fairfax County Republican chairman gets to choose the Electoral Board member; that decision actually resides with the 14 judges chosen by the General Assembly to comprise the Fairfax Circuit Court. The majority of the judges, based on the statement the court released, chose to replace von Spakovsky by appointing attorney Brian Schoeneman, another Republican and former General Assembly candidate. Both individuals were on a list of names recommended by the Fairfax Republican chairman.

Second, it is true that the Fairfax County Democratic Committee objected to von Spakovsky’s reappointment. In fact, I objected to von Spakovsky’s initial appointment to the board in 2010 when I was chair of Fairfax County Democrats, yet he still served a term on the board. Mr. Damon offers no evidence to support his assertion that Democratic objections to von Spakovsky unduly influenced the judges.

A quick Internet search can confirm that von Spakovsky is known chiefly for his nationwide efforts to suppress voter rights, especially among minority voters, in the name of fighting mythical challenges to the integrity of election administration. He works for a right wing organization funded by the notorious Koch Brothers. Further, while serving on the Fairfax Electoral Board he was responsible for removing multi-lingual voter registration materials from the Office of Elections, blocked the office from distributing the nonpartisan League of Women Voters pamphlet “Facts for Voters,” and ducked meetings of the Electoral Board in the days before the 2012 presidential election that denied the board a quorum and kept it from resolving open issues.

Finally, Mr. Damon neglects to inform readers of his own partisan motives. He belongs to the 11th Congressional District Republican Committee and frequently represents Fairfax County Republicans at Electoral Board meetings.

The integrity of our elections administration is too important to be trusted in the hands of someone who may have ulterior motives or seek partisan advantage. For that reason I am pleased that Hans von Spakovsky will no longer be on the Fairfax County Electoral Board.

Rex Simmons

Fairfax Station