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Robert Spindell, the vice chair of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, wrote in an email,

“We can be especially proud of the City of Milwaukee (80.2% Dem Vote) casting 37,000 less votes than cast in the 2018 election with the major reduction happening in the overwhelming Black and Hispanic areas.”

Spinell attributed this reduction to a “well thought out multi-facetted plan” that included:

  • “Biting Black radio negative commercials run last few weeks of the election cycle straight at Dem Candidates.”
  • “A substantial & very effective Republican coordinated election integrity program.”
  • “Significant reduction of unfavorable rulings/guidance from the Wisconsin Election Commission.”

Spindell stood by his remarks, claiming he was not bragging about voter suppression, but rather detailing Republican actions that successfully countered the Democratic message in Milwaukee and deterred voters from showing up to the polls.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Wisconsin Elections CommissionMembers and Administrator

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Urban MilwaukeeSpindell Defends Himself, Spins His Comments

AP NewsWisconsin Elections Commissioner stands by voting comments

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for Milwaukee Magazine and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.