Occasionally people will tell me typos aren’t that big of a deal. I know at least one person who thinks otherwise.
Due to an unfortunate typographical error, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney will appear as “Rich Whitey” on electronic-voting machines in 23 Illinois voting wards in November.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, about half of the wards are in “predominantly African-American areas.”
Apparently, Whitney’s name is spelled correctly on the initial screens and (according to Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen) on the all-important selection screen, but the unfortunate-typo version appears on later screens where voters can review their choices (and, presumably, go back and make changes). Allen stated—understated, actually—that this was a “difficult situation,” but said that the important thing is that “the name is spelled correctly where it counts.” That’s good, at least, because he also said there isn’t time to fix the typo and reprogram the machines before Election Day.
Rich Whitey—sorry, Whitney—is not at all pleased. “I don’t want to be identified as ‘Whitey,'” said Whitney. “If this is happening in primarily African-American wards, that’s an even bigger concern.” Whitney speculated that this might be more than a simple typo. “I don’t know if this is machine politics at play or why this happened,” he said, although since polls show him getting just two percent of the vote at the moment, the Machine is probably busy with more significant fraud.
On the other hand, maybe it did this just to see if it could. I guess this would probably have been hard for the Machine to resist, once the Machine thought of it.
Allen also predicted that about 90 percent of the ballots cast will be paper ones, on which Whitney’s name is (according to Allen) spelled correctly. He said the city would also post a list of all the candidates, with (according to Allen) all the names spelled correctly, at every polling place on Election Day. Somehow, that has not comforted Rich Whitney, who says he is contemplating legal action to force an electronic correction too.
One could be forgiven (I hope) for thinking that the typo doesn’t really matter, since Rich Whiteys seem to win most elections anyway. (That’s an observation and NOT an endorsement.)