Things You Can't Say on TV—Or on a Ballot - NBC Chicago

Things You Can't Say on TV—Or on a Ballot

Candidate loses court appeal for ballot slogan



    Things You Can't Say on TV—Or on a Ballot
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    A federal appeals court ruled that Illinois residents will vote on two senators in November, one of whom will serve just eight weeks. The action is in response to the Constitution, which says no senator can serve more than two years without being elected.

    Many politicians running for office will use catchy phrases that embody their platforms, hoping voters will remember them at the booth.

    But Ieshuh Griffin, a candidate for the Wisconsin Legislature, will likely never get to use her memorable slogan.

    Griffin, a Black woman, is running as an independent and is therefore allowed to use up to five words to describe herself on the ballot. Last month, she decided on the words, "NOT the 'whiteman's b---h.'"

    Um, alrighty then.

    The judges on the Government Accountability Board, perhaps unsurprisingly, took issue with Griffin's racially-charged choice of words.

    "It's a freedom of expression," Griffin said. "It's not racial. It's not a slur."

    Yeah! Shouldn't we all be allowed to describe ourselves as NOT a—um, you know...

    Griffin, with a bit of political charm, managed to convince three of the six white, retired judges that the expletive was protected free speech. Unfortunately, she needed four votes in her favor.

    But that didn't stop Griffin. She appealed to the federal court on Thursday...

    ....and was promptly dismissed on Friday.


    U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa rejected the case, which was filed as a habeas corpus action, because Griffin is not in custody, a requirement for that type of lawsuit.

    Griffin may not be the "whiteman's b---h," but she's certainly persistent. She intends to take her case to the Supreme Court, even if the legal battle lasts well past the November 2 election.

    "I will bring this issue up," Griffin said, who hopes to represent voters in the Milwaukee area in the state assembly. "This reflects how people in the 10th district are treated."

    Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.