Whitney is 'Whitey' on some ballots
BY DAVE McKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief
SPRINGFIELD -- The last name of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is misspelled as "Whitey" on electronic-voting machines in nearly two dozen wards -- about half in predominantly African-American areas -- and election officials said Wednesday the problem cannot be corrected by Election Day.
The misspelling turned up on touch-screen machines in 23 wards overall. Whitney's name is spelled correctly on the machines' initial screens showing all of the candidates' names, but it is misspelled on review screens that later show a voter his or her choices, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.
"This is a difficult situation. We'll make the best of it. But the important thing is the name is spelled correctly where it counts, and that's where people are making the selection," Allen said.
Allen said there is not adequate time to reprogram and test machines before Nov. 2. He predicted about 90 percent of the ballots cast that day will be on paper ballots, where Whitney's name is spelled properly.
The city election board plans to post a "candidate-neutral" list at polling places, showing the correctly spelled names of all candidates on the ballot, Allen said.
The snafu, however, has Whitney contemplating legal action to force a fix.
"I don't want to be identified as 'Whitey.' If this is happening in primarily African-American wards, that's an even bigger concern," Whitney told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I don't know if this is machine politics at play or why this happened."
"In any event, whether it is or not, this has to be disconcerting to a voter, and I wonder how this will impact the vote."