February ballot still not finalized

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The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has begun to certify the ballot for the Feb. 22 municipal election, but it could be a couple more weeks before the status of all of the candidates, including several from the Austin neighborhood, is known.

People still waiting to hear if they qualify to be included are:

  • 28th Ward – Michael A. Stinson, Jason Ervin, Carol G. Johnson, Carmelita P. Earls and Erick Von Kondrat.
  • 29th Ward – Eugene Greer and Marshall E. Hatch Sr.
  • 37th Ward – Minerva Orozco, Steven E. Pleasant, Tommy O. Abina and Shanika J. Finley. While objections to their candidacies have been withdrawn, a hearing officer has not filed his recommendation, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.

The record number of objections – 426 – filed in all city contests has made it difficult for hearing officers and the commissioners to conclude their work by the original ballot certification date of Dec. 23. “A number of cases are still pending,” Allen said.

Of the 29 people who initially filed paperwork to become candidates for aldermanic seats in the Austin area, 20 were challenged and seven so far failed to qualify.

In the 28th Ward, David Young and James Ogden were removed from the ballot for failing to appear at a hearing when their nominating papers were being challenged, which is required. Velda Brunner and Shawn Walker withdrew from the contest. Ten people initially filed for the open seat, the first election in that ward since Ed Smith became alderman in 1983. Smith retired in late fall.

Several candidates wanting to replace retired Ald. Ed Smith in the 28th Ward also applied to serve out the remainder of Smith’s term, which ends in mid-May. Efforts to speak with someone in Mayor Richard Daley’s press office to find out when he will make the appointment were unsuccessful.

In the 29th Ward, Sheneather “Shey” Butler was removed from the ballot for failing to file a receipt for her statement of economic interest with her application, as required by state law. Bernard Cobbins Jr. also was removed after he failed to appear at his hearing; and Curtis Myles was taken off the ballot because his nominating papers failed to identify the office he was seeking.

Three candidates – Gardner, Greer and Von Kondrat – have not yet filed their statement of financial interests with the Chicago Board of Ethics, as provided in the city’s Campaign Financing Ordinance. They still qualify for the ballot. However, a candidate who wins election cannot take the oath of office or be paid by the city until the statement is filed, said Steven Berlin, the agency’s executive director.


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