Green Party blasts County Clerk David Orr for impeding Water Reclamation District election

Green Party blasts County Clerk David Orr for impeding Water Reclamation District election

Green Party blasts County Clerk David Orr for impeding Water Reclamation District election

COOK COUNTY’S SECRET PRIMARY ELECTION There’s an office on March 20th ballots with no candidates listed—and election authorities aren’t trying to inform anyone about it.

[Correction: This release was distributed by the Illinois Green Party not the Illinois GOP Republican Party. It lacked proper attribution]

Voters in the March 20th general primary election are going to see something unusual on their ballots: an election with no candidates, just a blank ballot line and the option to cast a write-in vote.

It will likely take most people by surprise, since the Cook County Clerk’s office has issued zero public statements, press releases, or other information regarding the ballot line. Established political parties received notification of a special write-in-only primary via their central committees, less than a month before the official start of early voting, and otherwise the Clerk’s office has been silent on the subject.

The ballot line, for a seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board of Commissioners, will be available to registered write-in candidates only. Termed the “Vacancy of Bradford,” the ballot line will allow winning write-in candidates from the primary to appear on the November general election ballot for the MWRD Board seat left vacant by the death of sitting Commissioner Timothy Bradford—but only if they meet the minimum number of write-ins mandated by Illinois election law.

Voting sticker from Chicagoland election. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania. Vote. Election

Voting sticker from Chicagoland election. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

That number, based on the number of signatures candidates would have had to submit in a normal filing, is 1,720 votes for Green Party write-in candidates and 8,075 votes for Democrat Party candidates. The Republican Party did not file a write-in candidate for the primary election.

Complicating the quest for the minimum number of votes, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has refused to count write-in votes for write-in candidates who did not register separately with their office, even though the Cook County Clerk’s office is the election authority that oversees the MWRD election, and with whom regular MWRD Board candidates file their nomination papers.

That matter will likely be resolved in the courts—but for purposes of the primary election, all the Board of Election Commissioners needs to do is drag its feet until March 20th, forcing most of the write-in candidates to rely solely on suburban Cook County votes to hit their mandated minimum.

It’s Cook County politics in a nutshell: a cushy seat on a well-salaried board that rubberstamps every significant measure put before it for a vote (see “The Billion-Dollar Rubber Stamp” for more info), sheltered in as many ways as possible from actual voter decisions.

If the vast majority of Cook County voters leave the “Vacancy of Bradford” line on their ballots blank, because they have no idea what it is or who’s eligible as a write-in, it’s hard to see that as anything but the deliberate intent of the Cook County Clerk’s office and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.

For questions or media requests, contact or call (773) 809-4547.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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