Paper Also Calls On Congress To Reject FEC Nominee Hans Von Spakovsky
Editorializes That DoJ Voting Rights Section Is Run By Ideologues Most Concerned With Disenfranchising Minorities...
By Alan Breslauer on 11/6/2007, 12:51pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Alan Breslauer

The NY Times calls for the firing of John Tanner, the chief of the Justice Department's Civil Rights voting section, because of the “offensive” and “bigoted” comments originally captured and reported by The BRAD BLOG:

A House Judiciary subcommittee was the site of a sad spectacle the other day: John Tanner, who heads the Justice Department’s voting section, trying to explain offensive, bigoted comments he made about minority voters. It was a shameful moment that crystallized the need for immediate steps to fight for the rights that Mr. Tanner has been working so hard to undermine.

The administration should, of course, fire Mr. Tanner. Congress should pass a bill to criminalize deceptive campaign practices. And it should reject a pending nominee to the Federal Election Commission, Hans von Spakovsky.

The Justice Department has a long history of protecting the voting rights of minorities. In the Bush administration, the department’s voting rights section has been taken over by ideologues most interested in denying the ballot to minorities, poor people and other groups likely to vote Democratic.
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There have been calls for Mr. Tanner to be removed, and he should be, but that is not enough. The Senate must refuse to confirm Mr. von Spakovsky, an anti-voting-rights advocate cut from the same cloth as Mr. Tanner, to the F.E.C. Based on his record, Mr. von Spakovsky would use the job to undermine the right to vote.
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This administration seems to believe that the right to vote is something only Democrats should care about. It is too important to be reduced to a partisan issue.

Also see The BRAD BLOG's extensive coverage on Hans von Spakovsky.

Tanner has come under a great deal of fire, since, our original report of his assertions that while it was "a shame" that elderly voters were likely disenfranchised by his approval --- on behalf of the DoJ, and against the advice of his staff --- of a Georgia Photo ID poll restriction, minorities were somehow better served by it. His objectionable, and now-discredited, argument: "Minorities don't become elderly the way white people do. They die first."

Among those who have previously called for Tanner's firing in some fashion: Sen. Barack Obama, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Sen. Ted Kennedy, along with many other officials and organizations.