Senate Dems are calling for GOP commissioner Bob Spindell to resign from the Wisconsin Elections Commission or for Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu to rescind his appointment if he refuses the call.

The move comes as Spindell has been criticized for comments he made about reducing voter turnout in Milwaukee last fall, particularly in areas with high Hispanic and Black populations. He called the result a “great and important decrease in Democrat votes in the City” due to a “well thought out multi-faceted plan,” in an email.

Sen. LaTonya Johnson at a Capitol press conference Wednesday said she wants the Republican Party and Spindell to know “communities of color are not stupid, and we are not desperate.”

“In the famous words of Maya Angelou, ‘when someone shows you who they are, believe them,'” the Milwaukee Dem said. “And I want Republicans to know that communities of color know exactly who they are, and we believe what we see.”

Spindell rejected calls for him to resign. Meanwhile, LeMahieu’s office didn’t immediately provide comment.

Sen. Mark Spreitzer, D-Beloit, slammed Spindell for supporting former state Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman’s 2020 election investigation and his role in an effort to turn over a false slate of electors that favored Donald Trump despite his loss to Joe Biden in 2020.

“It is bad enough that the Republican Party of Wisconsin is proud that their efforts to suppress Black and Hispanic voters in Milwaukee stopped eligible voters from casting ballots,” Spreitzer said. “But it’s even worse that the person who seems most proud of these voter suppression efforts sits on the commission charged with overseeing free and fair elections.”

Sen. Kelda Roys, D-Madison, said the Senators had not spoken directly with LeMahieu about their concerns and rescinding Spindell’s appointment. Johnson said it shouldn’t be Dems’ responsibility to ask LeMahieu to remove Spindell from the commission.

“He heard these comments the same way that we did. Not only do these comments reflect poorly on Bob Spindell, it reflects poorly on the entire Republican Party,” Johnson said.

Spindell has said his comments were about Republican efforts to make inroads with Black and Hispanic voters, not seeking to suppress their vote. Spindell on Wednesday told he would not step down from WEC, arguing Dems lost votes because of their “failed policies” on crime and inflation.

“If they want to talk about voter suppression, then I think they should go back and talk about what happened in April of 2020 where the Democratic administration of the city of Milwaukee, they reduced the polling places,” Spindell said.

The city had just five polling places for that election due to a shortage of poll workers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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