1st Ward Committeeman: no one qualifies for ballot says Board of Elections

Date: 
01/22/2020
Vote

There are no qualified candidates to appear on the March ballot for the volunteer non-paid position of 1st Ward Committeeperson, said the Chicago Board of Elections Tuesday.

Despite the twists and turns in the three-way race to get enough qualified signatures (1,032 per candidate) for inclusion on the March ballot, neither 1st Ward Alderman Daniel La Spata, Lauren Weber or Jay Ramirez crossed the finish line. 

None are giving up. 

While La Spata and Weber have declared that they will conduct a write-in campaign, Ramirez is going to appeal the ruling on his signatures. 

JayRamirez

Jay Ramirez

"I am going to file an appeal in circuit court to have signatures restored to be placed on the ballot," says Ramirez. "The legal argument is that the Objector never challenged the signers as not being registered voters in the 1st Ward. 364 signatures were erroneously invalidated and Weber herself testified today that only 130 were registered outside the 1st Ward. By my calculation, I am 106 signatures above the limit and my lawyer plans to prove it in court."  

DLaSpata

Daniel La Spata

La Spata says, "Despite evidence clearly demonstrating my opponent [Weber] forged signatures on affidavits and committed fraud, the board refused to review the evidence we submitted to defend our petitions, ruling on process over substance… 

"We will continue the fight to carry on the Progressive movement we have built as a community. Our voices will not be silenced. Together we can and will win the race for the first ward’s future.” 

On the other hand, Weber's attorney Frank Avila said that a La Spata worker, during an evidentiary hearing, admitted committing fraud. The worker went to senior buildings to gather signatures without having a notary with him. He brought the signatures to the La Spata campaign office the next day and someone notarized them, though they were not present at the signing. 

LaurenWeber

Lauren Weber

Weber says, "My team and I faced down the efforts of other candidates to steamroll the process and force themselves onto the ballot through misrepresentation and fraud. We exposed this egregious behavior during the recent review process and our position was upheld by both the hearing officer and electoral board… 

"While other candidates have already attempted to besmirch the reputations of these public servants, I want to thank them for their tireless commitment to upholding fair and free elections in Chicago. It is an often thankless task, but essential to our democracy." 

It appears the battle will continue through the March Primary. 

Election
During the Mar. 17, 2020, Presidential Primary Election, this seat will be voted upon. The winner will be whoever has the greatest number of votes, the minimum being 1,032. 

If that count is not achieved the Democratic Party will have to appoint someone from the 1st Ward after the election, explained Jacob Kaplan, Executive Director, Cook Country Democratic Party. 

Background
The slug fest started in September, when La Spata said that he was going to run because it was "unacceptable" to have former 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno holding the committeemanship. 

"We simply cannot stand by this; not when we are on the path toward a more democratic, inclusive, and progressive 1st Ward. The only way we continue on this path is to elect a Democratic Committeeman with unquestioned independence and dedication to building the progressive movement in our community," he said then. 

When it was not clear who was running, a lot of rhetoric was flying around. The desire to win drove the spirited campaigns.

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