Thursday, October 27, 2016

For those interested in write-in candidates....

FWIW readers have followed the story of Judge Maryam Ahmad's struggle to be a write-in candidate for the Hopkins vacancy in the 1st Subcircuit.

According to Cook County Clerk David Orr's website and the Chicago Board of Elections website, Judge Ahmad is the only recognized write-in candidate for any Cook County judicial vacancy. If you write in anybody else's name in any judicial race, that vote won't count (see this 2012 post for an explanation as to why this is so).

But if you've clicked the link on either the Clerk's website or the City's, you've seen a long list of names of candidates for President and Vice President (only presidential candidates are shown on the City list).

Who are these people?

About the only thing I could find out about Joann Breivogel is that she claims affiliation with the Republican Party of Illinois. I couldn't find anything out about Jonathan Lee, Kevin P. McKee, or David G. Stack at all. Roy Wayne Tyree apparently got three write-in votes in 2012; he seems to have run as a write-in candidate in 1992 as well. But I couldn't find out anything substantive about who he is or what he stands for. But your write-in votes for any of these candidates would count in Cook County.

Other write-in candidates have tried to get their message to We the People.

Darrell Castle (pictured at right) and Scott Bradley are the standard-bearers for the Constitution Party.

Duff Cooper Smith A.K.A "Coop Smith" doesn't have a running mate. On his website, Smith says he'd let Congress choose his Vice President for him. He writes, "It is urgent for all of us that feel uncomfortable with the nominees of the major parties to consolidate our votes around Gary, Gill and myself, Coop Smith." I'm guessing that "Gary" is Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate (the Tribune's choice for President, if you'll recall). But who is Gill? I couldn't figure it out.

Ben Hartnell, a high school history teacher and the candidate of the Harty Party, is campaigning to "Make America Bearded Again." His campaign website is Hartnell's running mate, Dave Marshall, is also his cousin.

Tom Hoefling's campaign website describes him as "a long-time national conservative political activist, writer, publisher, organizer, and consultant. He is known primarily for his pro-life work and his defense of traditional marriage." Hoefling and running mate Steve Shulin, a conservative activist from South Carolina, are the candidates of America's Party.

According to an October 24 post by Ben Casselman on, Laurence Kotlikoff "is a Harvard-trained economist, a Boston University professor and, yes, a candidate for president." The linked article says Kotlikoff is actually on the ballot in Colorado and Louisiana. His running mate is UCLA Professor Edward Leamer. Leamer is not a listed write-in candidate.

Kotlinkoff's campaign website is Among other things, Kotlikoff says, "Traditional banking is unsafe at any speed." He promotes the Purple Financial Plan "to fix the financial system from scratch." Kotlinkoff describes his plan as "a 'show me' banking system that can't fail, even if Uncle Sam defaults, and is remarkably simple to implement." He claims that "[p]rominent economists and policymakers, including Bank of England Governor, Mervyn King, and former U.S. Secretary of Treasury and U.S. Secretary of State, George Shultz, have either strongly endorsed the plan or urged its careful consideration."

Joseph A. Moldonado is the name one would have to write in in order to vote for Joe Exotic, a private zookeeper from Oklahoma, whose campaign website is

The lion is not Moldonado's running mate; Douglas Keith Terranova is. Only Mr. Moldonado is listed as a write-in candidate, however.

If the Washington Post may be believed, Evan McMullin has a chance to carry the State of Utah. The Post describes McMullin as "is a 40-year-old Mormon who spent a decade at the CIA and later became the policy director for the House Republican Conference." His running mate (not listed as a write-in candidate here) is Mindy Finn. McMullin's campaign website is

Laio Morris has a campaign website describing her as a "write-in candidate for President of the Un-United States of America." She posts a more detailed biography on a campaign Facebook page.

Morris's platform calls for abolition "of the credit system (equifax, transunion, experian)" and for elimination of individual debt ("wipe all credit clean"). Her "Project Fresh Start" proposes "supplemental income" of $5,000 a month "for those who are working, in school, has a business/wants a business, disabled or handicapped--certifications in consumer counseling, budgeting, investments and money management required."

Matthew Roberts' stated goal as a presidential candidate is to bring "None of the Above" as an option to the ballot in every election. He had hoped to be listed as Matthew "None of the Above" Roberts in as many states as possible -- but, as FWIW has previously reported, Illinois law does not allow a candidate to use a slogan as a ballot nickname (Lar "America First" Daly couldn't run under that name under current law). But you can find out about Roberts' NOTA campaign by visiting his campaign website,

Write-in votes for Roberts will be counted in suburban Cook County, but not in the City of Chicago: Roberts did not file a write-in declaration with the Chicago Board of Elections.

Similarly, write-in votes for Marshall Roy Schoenke and his running mate, James Creighton Mitchell, Jr., will count in the Cook County suburbs, but not in the City of Chicago. Schoenke and Mitchell bill themselves as "common men for an uncommon time" on their campaign website. Schoenke is a Lake County, Illinois native and lives in Lake Villa. Mitchell lives in Lindenhurst, Illinois.

Phillip Seeberg is a Naperville resident. On his Facebook campaign page, Seeberg writes, "I don’t feel that I can vote for either Trump or Clinton, so I decided to vote for myself." Votes for Seeberg will count outside of Chicago, but any votes he gets in Chicago will not be counted. An article in the Naperville Sun (from which the accompanying photograph is taken) notes Seeberg "has self-funded his campaign with only $40, and refuses money from special interests, including his parents, because he said he doesn't want the hassle of filing paperwork."

Write-in votes for James T. Struck are also valid only in suburban Cook County, not in the City of Chicago. It may not matter in his case, as he is, according to his website, already "copresident."

Mary A. Vann filed nominating petitions as the presidential candidate of the Human Rights Party. But a challenge to her petitions knocked her off the ballot. She's a declared write-in in both the City and suburbs.

Write-in votes for Demetra Jefferson Wysinger's presidential bid will count in the City of Chicago but not in suburban Cook County. Her campaign website identifies her as "the virtuous woman."

Cherunda Fox is also a City-only presidential candidate. Based in Detroit, Fox describes herself on her campaign website, as an African-American and American Indian.

For information about how to make sure your write-in vote counts, visit this page on the Cook County Clerk's website.


Albert said...

Interesting post--nice job on the research.

Anonymous said...

So nobody is concerned that Maryham Ahmad LOST and is now being allowed to write in?

Jack Leyhane said...

@Anon 10/31 9:24 p.m. -- Lots of folks were concerned, and the City Board of Elections initially ruled that write-in votes for Judge Ahmad would not be counted. But she prevailed in a suit to set aside that decision. The bottom line is this: Ahmad can run as a write-in against Crawford because she was not a candidate for that particular vacancy in the March Primary.