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Set aside sex scandal for real news, briefly

A number write-candidates have been certified for April 5 municipal school district elections. | Sun-Times Medifile photo

A number of write-in candidates have been certified for the April 5 municipal and school district elections. | Sun-Times Media file photo

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Casting a write-in vote

On a paper ballot:

Write the name of the write-in candidate on the line provided in a particular race.

Mark the corresponding arrow

In single-vote races, no other votes can be cast in a race where a write-in vote was cast. In multiple-vote races, a voter may cast one or more votes for write-in candidates but is limited to the total number of votes allowed in a given race.

On a touch screen:

Press the “write-in” box at the bottom of the list of candidates. A keyboard will appear.

Type a name using the letters on the keyboard and space key to separate the first and last name.

When finished, press “OK.”

In single-vote races, no other votes can be cast in a race where a write-in vote was cast. In multiple-vote races, a voter may cast one or more votes for write-in candidates but is limited to the total number of votes allowed in a given race.

Souce: www.cookcountyclerk.com

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Updated: May 5, 2011 4:47AM



Boy, it’s going to be difficult to keep your attention to a column on write-in candidates, what with Northwestern University’s sex toy demonstration dominating water cooler conversation.

A sex show in a Northwestern lecture hall makes the birth video shown in my high school health class seem downright Walt Disney. I must admit: As a product of public schools raised in a middle-class household, I savor, in a twisted way, occasions to sniff at the Northwesterns of the world.

Tuition, room and board cost $52,463 per year. The university boasts the very finest. It markets itself as the Ivy League of the Midwest.

Except last week, it more closely resembled Big Al’s of Peoria.

But I digress.

This is a column, ahem, about the April 5 election and the uphill battles many write-in candidates face against their Northwesterns — well-funded incumbents with the very best advisers, attorneys and credentials.

Sixty-three people so far intend to run as write-in candidates in Will County and suburban Cook County, according to the county clerks, Nancy Schultz Voots and David Orr.

Some of the candidates attempted to get their names on the ballot but filed improper paperwork.

Josh Tate, of Blue Island, is running as a write-in candidate for a two-year term on the Blue Island Park District Board after the Democratic Party’s top attorney, Michael Kasper, acting in concert with state Rep. Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), who also is Democratic committeeman for Calumet Township, convinced an elections panel Tate didn’t follow the rules.

The difficulty for Tate and other write-in candidates will be educating voters how to cast ballots correctly.

“When voters go to the polls, they have to write me on the paper ballot, or type on the touch screen, and make sure they don’t vote for the other person,” Tate said.

Tate faces incumbent Joanne Ring, who works for Rita and whose platform includes banning alcohol at park district events. She introduced the ordinance last year after the drowning death of Carlos Salgado during a rowdy after-hours pool party attended by district officials.

Voters also must spell the write-in candidates’ names close to perfect to make their choices clear.

“As long as the intent is there, the vote counts,” Voots said. “If you spelled ‘Jayne’ instead of ‘Jane,’ that would be valid.”

Winning is pretty rare for most write-in campaigns, although the Frankfort Township assessor’s race in April 2009 stands as a template for success.

Joseph Kral beat incumbent Assessor Paul Ruff in a write-in contest that ousted one of the Southland’s most notorious elected officials.

Kral used Web sites and an extensive group of volunteers to staff polling places on Election Day. They handed out small cards with precise instructions on how to cast a vote correctly.

But Kral also had the backing of the Will County Democratic Party, and most write-ins don’t have the fundraising or organizational prowess of a political machine.

In Tate’s case, he faces the brass knuckles of his opponents, again. They scheduled a competing fundraiser for the park board president, Fred Bilotto, the same evening as Tate’s fundraiser, aiming to chip away his attendance.

Elsewhere, Dan Sodaro is running as a write-in candidate in Oak Lawn’s 3rd District, facing one of the Southland’s most tenacious and experienced incumbents, Trustee Robert Streit.

And Chicago Heights voters have the option of write-in candidate Arthur Higgins in the 1st Ward, along with Jason Amos and Richard Hummel Jr. for park district seats.

Write-in candidates also are running for Lockport School District 91, the Prairie State College Board, the Monee Village Board and several fire protection district and library seats.

On Election Day, after the polls close, election judges at each polling place count the write-ins, which will be tallied and confirmed later by the county clerks.

Just so you know, writing Mickey Mouse doesn’t count. Neither does Hugh Hefner.

And for the lesser-known candidates seeking publicity, they should know newspaper readers and television viewers are more drawn to scandal than substance. Headlines aren’t always wholesome.

Just ask Morton Schapiro. He’s the president of Northwestern University.



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