CALUMET CITY | When voters here look at their ballots for the April 9 municipal elections, they’re mostly going to see the names of incumbent officials running unopposed.
Even in the one case of a nonincumbent official, 4th Ward aldermanic candidate Ramonde Williams does not face an official challenger on election day.
But for voters in the city’s 1st and 5th wards, which comprise the neighborhoods on the east side of town that border Indiana, there is the potential for an alternative.
Two individuals have filed with the Cook County clerk’s office notice of their intent to conduct write-in campaigns. Shalisa Harvey will challenge 1st Ward Alderman Eric Schneider, while Tony Quiroz will oppose 5th Ward Alderman Roger Munda.
Harvey tried getting on the ballot to run as a political independent in the April 9 elections, but was removed by the Calumet City Electoral Board on grounds that her nominating petitions were not properly notarized. She was not able to get an attorney to help her until after she was removed from the ballot.
Instead of challenging the Electoral Board in court, she decided to go the write-in route.
Schneider said he’s not letting her campaign change his strategy. “I will go about my business and so will she,” he said. “The voters will decide.”
This is not Quiroz's first time trying to run a campaign for municipal office as a write-in. He challenged Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush for her post in 2005.
Quiroz said his desire to run is because of his opposition to Qualkinbush. In the primary election held in February, Quiroz formally endorsed Qualkinbush challenger Victor Green.
In Cook County, people wishing to cast a ballot for a write-in candidate who are using touch-screen voter machines press the “write-in” box at the bottom of the candidate list, then type in the name of the candidate they wish to vote for.
Those who use paper ballots should write the name in the provided slot, and also must mark the corresponding arrow to actually cast a vote.
County clerk’s officials said on their website that spelling accuracy “is not necessary as long as the election judges can determine a voter’s intent to select a specific write-in candidate.” If election judges at a polling place are unable to determine the intent, the vote will not be counted.