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updated: 10/14/2010 12:31 PM

Misspelled name 'Whitey' may get changed back to 'Whitney' on ballots

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  • Rich Whitney

      Rich Whitney
    Associated Press

By Kerry Lester

The Green Party candidate for governor's name is misspelled -- Rich Whitey instead of Whitney -- on voting machines in a number of heavily African-American areas in Chicago.

Chicago election officials expect to make an announcement about a fix so that the civil rights lawyer's name is correct in the 23 wards where the misspelling is occurring on electronic voting machines.

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Yet, a fix won't be easy, spokesman Jim Allen said.

"We expect to make some headway on this. It's going to be complicated, it's not as easy as fixing a switch. You have to unload, retest, all this stuff, including the paper balloting system.

Whitney, a Carbondale civil rights lawyer, said a campaign volunteer who had gone to place an early vote in a Chicago ward first noticed the problem. Election officials later confirmed it persisted in 23 wards a dozen of which serve primarily black communities.

Whitney's name is only misspelled on one portion of the electronic ballot, Allen points out.

"Rich Whitey appears as a voter is reviewing his choices, not on the initial screen listing all of the candidates.

"It's only if you pick him, and then in the review section, Allen said.

Whitney called the problem "confusing at best, noting "we're fighting for every vote here.

City elections officials initially said they would not be able to fix the problem in time for the election.

Whitney said he was contemplating legal action to force a change.

"If they can fix it that's great. But there's some damage that's already been done, he said.

Allen said the board of elections is expected to make an announcement this afternoon.

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