Ballot error could affect 39th Ward Republican committeeman race
by BRIAN NADIG
Mistakes made by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners could keep 39th Ward Republican committeeman William Miceli from winning re-election on March 15 even though he is running unopposed as a write-in candidate.
Provisions were not made on the ward’s Republican ballot to allow voters to write in Miceli’s name. The board failed to include a write-in blank for that office on the ballots.
"We regret the mistake, but we are unable to reprogram the touch screens and ballot scanners for this or any other office at this late date," board spokesman James Allen said in a statement. "Thus, we have prepared a special ballot and instructions for workers for early voting, vote by mail and Election Day voting"
The special provision was implemented several days after early voting had started, and when Miceli went to vote, the election judge forgot to give him the special ballot, which he had to request, according to a representative of Miceli’s campaign. The ballots also were not numbered or placed in a secured box after they were filled out, the spokeswoman said.
In addition, the board left Miceli’s name off its official list of write-in candidates on its Web site for several weeks after he filed his paperwork to be a write-in candidate in December.
Miceli decided to run as a write-in candidate after a challenge to his nominating petitions was filed. The required number of signatures was 288, and Miceli submitted more than 300 signatures, but he said at a recent candidate forum that he withdrew his nomination after it appeared that some of the signatures would be invalidated.
The only other candidate to file nominating papers for the committeeman position was knocked off the ballot due to an insufficient number of signatures, and Miceli was the only person to file his intent with the election board to run as a write-in candidate.
Although he is unopposed, Miceli is not guaranteed a victory unless he receives at least 288 votes, and he has expressed concern that the election board’s errors could make it difficult to reach that threshold. His campaign sent letters to 2,000 Republican voters in the ward requesting that they write in his name.
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 his or her name placed on the ballot.
A statement issued by Miceli’s charged that the errors represent "Chicago politics as usual." The spokeswoman said that the Republican Party would prefer someone other than Miceli if he fails to get minimum votes because he is too outspoken and has developed a working relationship with some of the Democratic elected officials in the area.
Miceli, a North Mayfair resident, is seeking his third term. Committeemen slate candidates for offices for their party and often campaign for some candidates.