39th Ward Republican committeeman gets most votes but not guaranteed victory
by BRIAN NADIG
A decision on whether 39th Ward Republican committeeman William Miceli keeps his position may up to the Cook County Republican Party even though he was the top voter-getter in the March 15 primary election and no one else was running.
Miceli, a two-term incumbent, decided to run as a write-in candidate due to concerns that a pending challenge to his nominating petitions would have resulted in his removal from the ballot.
Miceli then withdrew his candidacy and filed his declaration of intent to run as a write-in. Another candidate, Kevin White, lost the challenge to his nomination, but White did not file to run as a write-in candidate.
Although Miceli remained as write-in candidate, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners forgot to include a space on the ballot for a write-in candidate for the committeeman’s race. The board provided special forms at the polling places to allow Miceli’s name to be written in, but election judges at several polling places were not handing those forms to voters who requested a Republican ballot, according to the Miceli campaign.
The judges later corrected the problem after it was brought to their attention, but the board’s mistake with the ballot and the subsequent confusion at the polling places apparently cost Miceli too many votes, a campaign spokeswoman said.
Unofficial results as of March 28 have Miceli with 156 votes, with a small number of provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots still to be counted.
However, the state election code allows party officials to choose a winner when no candidate is listed on the ballot and when a write-in candidate receives fewer votes than the number signatures required to have a name placed on the ballot. For the committeeman’s race, 288 signatures were required.
The spokeswoman has said that the party may prefer someone else to serve as committeeman because Miceli is too outspoken and has developed a working relationship with some of the area’s Democratic elected officials.
By the time the elections board learned of the ballot mistake, early voting already had begun and it was too late to make a correction, board spokesman James Allen said. The elections board posts candidate lists and a sample ballot prior to the start of voting, he said.
“We certainly wish we had received a head’s up on the issue much earlier,” Allen said.
Miceli’s declaration of intent to run as a write-in was filed with the Cook County Clerk’s office in December, and the clerk’s office transferred it to the elections board in January, Allen said. Usually in local races the intent is filed directly with the board, which is the only jurisdiction responsible for counting votes in Chicago’s committeeman races, he said.