This column by ACRU Policy Board Member J. Christian Adams was published on February 22, 2013 on Breitbart.com.
In Virginia, the Fairfax Democratic Party is gloating over the effective removal of voter integrity advocate Hans von Spakovsky from the electoral board of the largest county in the state.
As the end of von Spakovsky’s current term on the board approached its end, Fairfax Republicans submitted his name and two others as nominees for two of the board’s three seats (since Republican Bob McDonnell currently serves as governor, his party gets the majority of seats). In an unprecedented move, Fairfax County Circuit Judges rejected von Spakovsky for the position, even though Republicans designated him as their preferred nominee.
Because of his fight against voter fraud, local Democrats and national left-wing journalists targeted von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation fellow and Breitbart contributor, for removal from the board. These critics asserted that von Spakovsky and other conservatives hoped to disenfranchise voters by supporting election integrity measures like Voter ID in 2012.
Cesar del Aguila, chairman of the Fairfax Democratic Party, and his attorney John Farrell demanded these judges remove von Spakovsky. These judges are themselves appointed by a partisan legislative body and capitulated to the demands of the Democrats. Reporter Robert McCartney amplified the Democrats’ complaints on the pages of the Washington Post.
Aguila and Farrell claimed von Spakovsky acted in a “partisan” way on the board. However, of von Spakovsky’s 224 votes, he made 221 in unison with the board’s Democrat commissioner. Only three votes were split 2-1.
The refusal to appoint the top designee of the Republican Party was entirely unprecedented in Virginia and promises to bring legislative scrutiny on the actions of Chief Judge Dennis Smith. It may also incite Republicans to scuttle the designees of the Democrat party in the future.
Von Spakovsky is one of the nation’s leading voices against voter fraud, and his removal has serious ramifications for clean elections in the swing state of Virginia.
The Fairfax Democrats reveal a larger national identity crisis within the Democratic party; rational centrist elements have been pushed aside by loud fringe elements led by activists such as Aguila and Farrell. Nearly the entire Democratic legislative delegation from Fairfax and all of the Democrat county supervisors consider Aguila and Farrell to be rough and unhinged but are powerless to tame them.
Von Spakovsky invited the wrath of the radical left when he stopped the distribution of literature published by the ideologically charged League of Women Voters in government election offices. In fact, he stopped literature distribution by all third-party groups. The response by the Democrat party reveals the integration of purportedly non-partisan election advocacy groups like the League with party priorities.
Farrell also resented that von Spakovsky was adamant that Fairfax County comply with the Help America Vote Act of 2002, a federal election law. That law requires that the names of provisional voters be kept confidential, but the Democrat party wanted to harvest that data.
Jay McConville, Chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Party, responded to Friday’s events:
It is disappointing that the judges would bow to political pressure and allow partisan gamesmanship to win the day. More than that, it is shocking that the Fairfax County Democratic Party would challenge the capabilities of Mr. Von Spakovsky, who has served this community so well and with great dedication during his previous term. Clearly the FCDC is more interested in partisan fights than in the proper functioning of the electoral system or the integrity of the vote.
Unfortunately, the righteous indignation of the Republican Party was too little and too late. The GOP must quickly learn that election administration issues are a blood sport to the left. Anyone who stands in their way is personally targeted and polarized. Until Republicans start fighting back just as hard, the left will keep bloodying those courageous Americans preserving the integrity of our electoral process. Until the GOP engages the fight at the outset and fiercely attacks the attackers, the administration of American elections will be dominated by the narrative of the left.