Two more political hopefuls have been kicked off the ballot in the 28th Ward alderman’s race, after a staffer for former Ald. Ed Smith objected to the candidates’ petitions.
The Chicago Board of Elections said Dec. 29 that community organizer Carol G. Johnson is ineligible for the Feb. 22 race because her petition paperwork for the non-partisan election was printed with the word “Democrat.” Johnson said the error was an oversight, the result of using the incorrect online form as a template.
“It was basically a mistake,” Johnson said, “something that was overlooked on my part and my team’s part, not having the resources to hire an attorney.”
And on Monday, the board found that Chicago Police Department veteran Erick Von Kondrat lacked enough valid signatures to make the ballot. A candidate in the 28th Ward needed 152.
Behind these objections and others was Eileen Jackson, community service coordinator for Smith, who resigned from his now-vacant council seat Nov. 30. Jackson filed objections against eight of the 10 residents vying for that seat – all but Ald. Smith’s political protégé, Jason Ervin, who has been endorsed by the former alderman, and competitor William Siegmund.
Jackson declined to comment for this story, and Ervin did not respond to an interview request.
Siegmund ran for alderman four years ago but was removed from the ballot when his economic disclosure form “mysteriously got lost” at City Hall, he said.
“I didn’t have a lawyer,” Siegmund said. “This time, I went out and I threw down the $2,000 to get a lawyer, and lo and behold, I didn’t have any issues.”
The objections process is an important and often-overlooked part of Chicago politics – one that has a tremendous impact on the outcome of an election, said Dick Simpson, a former alderman and head of the political science department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“It is very common in Chicago politics to try to eliminate competitors by getting them off the ballot on technicalities … and if it works, it means you’ve automatically won the election,” Simpson said. “What the voter is looking at is the ballot. They probably haven’t paid much attention to the objections process.”
It’s common practice for objections to be lined up by precinct bosses, Simpson said – that is, for supporters of an alderman to file objections against his or her competitors. It’s less common for objectors to actually work for the alderman, he said, but it’s not illegal as long as the objector lives in the ward.
Candidates themselves may also file objections. At least two, Carmelita Earls and Shawn Walker, did so in the 28th Ward race.
The objections process may be politics as usual, but Johnson said she was troubled by how easily she, as a “common, everyday person,” was shut out of the process.
“I don’t know if the voters are aware of all the time that is spent to objecting candidates’ petitions and all the money that is spent at the Board of Elections,” Johnson said, adding that she will continue to campaign as a write-in candidate. “It’s a machine strategy that discourages regular people from running. It’s a well thought-out strategy, and it works.”
Political expert Simpson pointed out that while the objections process may seem difficult for a political newcomer, a candidate that can’t maneuver the ballot process is likely not prepared to be alderman.
“It’s a technicality, but it’s not a mistake they should have made,” he said. “If they make a mistake like this (as alderman) in (drafting) an ordinance … well, you’re not allowed to make mistakes like that.”
Johnson and Von Kondrat join a list of four other thwarted 28th Ward candidates: Velda Brunner and Shawn Walker withdrew their nominations, and David Young and James Ogden defaulted by failing to show up for their objection hearings last month.
Board decisions are still pending for Michael Stinson, pastor at the First General Assembly Church in Englewood, and Earls, commander of operations for the Chicago Fire Department’s Training Academy, according to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. Ervin and Siegmund are officially on the ballot.
It’s not the mistake, it’s the “intent” of the objector. It goes back to the old saying ” To play the game, you must know the rules” It’s sad when elected officials under estimate the voters, implying that they are not educated enough to make a informed decision. What happen to democracy “let the voters decide”, why limit their choices. After all they do pay taxes as well as their salaries
I think the voters have a write to know how some people like Ed Smith and Jason Ervin remain or obtain positions while using the tax payers dollars for personal gain (google Jason Ervin Chicago and read the 2009 Fox news story). Objection hearings took place during and after normal business hours and on Saturdays and Sundays just to secure a position. I can see how the law prevail but it doesn’t make it right or fair in the eyesight of the 28th ward residents where living conditions have steadily decline under Smith’s watch. I appreciate Simpson opinion, however to draw an assumption that a person mistake makes them less qualified for a position is just an opinion. I am sure every one in city hall has made a mistake. From what I am hearing, the residence of the 28th ward are supporting Johnson as a WRITE -IN Candidate. After all Lisa Murkowski became an Alaska Senator as a WRITE-IN candidate. I understand that the political process has its laws and process. However, politicians should listen to what the voters are saying and in turn the community should see some tangible results. Johnson doesn’t profess to be able to solve every problem, but she has some success stories and have made quite an impression in the 28th ward. I challenge the people of the 28th ward to stop settling for status quo. It is time to unite to “Make A Differnce”
See what Steve Franklin at Chicago is the World says about the upcoming election at: http://chicagoistheworld.org/2011/01/how-are-you-going-to-cover-the-election/
My comment speaks firstly to the objections. The former alderman, has used his influence to manipulate the decisions of nomination papers. Yes, errors should bring accountability. However, that accountability should be unbias. The aforementions hopefuls were punished by being knocked off the ballot. While Ed Smith’s candidate’s error were overlooked. I personally objected to Jason’s error of notarization on his papers. According to the IL State Notary Handbook Publish By Secretary of State Jesse White, his double inaccurate notary is a violation of the notary act. Therefore, invalid. This is explained in pages 15-21 of the Notary Handbook. My objection was presented by my attorney and overruled. I guess rules on count for some. He’s on the ballot. I was objected to on 28 frivilous counts. I won all 28. One is being appealed. The former alderman has been at the Board of Elections, personally lobbying for his candidate. Secondly, 28th Ward staff assistants has worked long hours at the board of elections, defending Jason’s interest, I wonder if this was on city time. Stay tuned!!! Thirdly, Mr Siegmund it wasn’t because your paperwork was perfect. It was because the former alderman considers you, least likely a threat to his mission. I have been in hearings since I filed my nomination papers on November 22nd., weekdays and weekends. This has kept me off the campaign trail. The former alderman misled the residents while fundraising as though he was running for re-election. This allowed for a healthy war chest for his horse, Jason. Jason, young man I dont know you. But what I do know is that you claim a 14 year mentorship with the former alderman. In those 14 years, why haven’t you seen the lack of leadership and growth in the community? Instead you take all those skills you boast about to Maywood. Couldn’t your mentor use you for the citizens of Chicago. But now you want to fight for the people. A coward observes one in need, but delivers not!!! Now you allow the former alderman to post you up at photo -ops with dignataries. You allow him to introduce you as the newly endorsed and/or appointed alderman of the 28th Ward at functions. Without correction. You exhibit the same lack of integrity we have had for 27 years. Different package same product. The people of the 28th Ward aren’t buying that, this election. Mr. Smith, I have attempted to work with you. You talk a good game. I’ll show you how to deliver. Enjoy you apbrupt retirement while you can. Go move in that house that &^%$#@%, built. Gentlemen, I dont throw rocks and hide my hands. That’s not who Carmelita is. I have put my life on the line, crawling down hallways to save others. For 20 years I have served Chicago, not Maywood. Not myself. The resident desire a servant who will interceed on their behalf, not sell them to highest bidder, or business owner. Thank You for re-exposing the desperations of mankind’s insecurity. The sleeping giant has awakened. Someone should have advised you to never throw a ball, you aren’t ready to catch. Alderman, you raised the stakes. I call. Im officially all in. Carmelita Earls is bringing change to the 28th ward. My life still belong to the people. The Earls Train has just went into the express mode. Stay off the tracks. This is the only warning horn you will hear. Watch for the smoke. As a firefighter I must tell you, where there is smoke, there’s fire!!! Punch Earls for help…. If it’s an emergency…call 911..