"Rich Whitey" Instead of Whitney on Ballots
"Rich Whitey" isn't a great name for a politician to have. Unfortunately for Illinois gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney, his last name has been mispelled "Whitey" on voting machines in some African-American wards, election officials said.
And the problem cannot be corrected by Election Day, Nov. 2, they said.
Whitney, a Carbondale, Ill., civil rights attorney running as the Illinois Green Party nominee, said he might take legal action to force a fix.
"I don't want to be identified as 'Whitey,'" Whitney told the Chicago Sun-Times. "If this is happening in primarily African-American wards, that's an even bigger concern. I don't know if this is machine politics at play or why this happened."
He said he wondered how the misspelling would affect the vote.
Whitney received 10.4 percent of the vote when he ran for governor in 2006 -- a relatively strong finish for a third-party candidate.
The name misspelling turned up on touch-screen machines in 23 election districts -- about half in predominantly African-American areas.
Whitney's name is spelled correctly on the machines' initial screens showing each candidate's name, but is misspelled on review screens that later show a voter his or her election choices, Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen said.
"This is a difficult situation," Allen told the Sun-Times. "We'll make the best of it. But the important thing is the name is spelled correctly where it counts, and that's where people are making the selection."
Allen estimated about 90 percent of the ballots cast Election Day would be on paper ballots, where Whitney's name is spelled correctly.