Ward Room
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Board of Elections Apologizes, Will Reprogram to Remove "Whitey"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Rich Whitney is not a Rich Whitey.

    But a spelling snafu on Illinois electronic voting machines threatens to sour voters on the Green Party gubernatorial candidate.

    The Chicago Board of Elections apologized Thursday to the Green Party and Whitney for the spelling error, which affected every voting machine already deployed. The board will now reprogram more than 2500 machines before they are sent to polling places next week. The machines already in use will be programmed after that.

    Green Party chair Phil Huckelberry said he isn't satisfied with the board's response, but admitted there's not much else that can be done.

    The Board of Elections said Wednesday they mistakenly printed Whitney's name as "Whitey" on electronic-voting machines in 23 wards, including about half in African-American communities.

    Whitney's name is spelled correctly on the first screen showing all the candidates names, but when voters check who they voted for, "Whitey" will appear, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.

    "This is a difficult situation," Allen said. "The important thing is the name is spelled correctly where it counts, and that's where people are making the selection."

    The Chicago Sun-Times reports a "candidate-neutral" list will hang in polling places with all candidates' names spelled correctly.

    That's not good enough for the candidate with the misspelled name in all 54 Early Voting locations.

    "Either this is intentional or it's gross negligence.  Either way, it's more than very troubling and someone needs to take responsibility," Whitney said in a phone conversation late Thursday.

    Whitney, who's running against Pat Quinn, Bill Brady and Scott Lee Cohen, is weighing whether to sue to get his name spelled correctly on the electronic-voting machines.