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Ald. Ervin Stands Unopposed After Seven Candidates Knocked From Ballot

By Stephanie Lulay | January 14, 2015 7:56am
 Seven candidates — everyone except incumbent Ald. Jason Ervin — have been eliminated from the 28th Ward ballot.
Seven candidates — everyone except incumbent Ald. Jason Ervin — have been eliminated from the 28th Ward ballot.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay

WEST SIDE — The once crowded 28th Ward race is now a lonely one.

All seven candidates challenging incumbent Ald. Jason Ervin have been bounced from the 28th Ward ballot, according to Chicago Board of Elections results. Barring a write-in campaign or a successful appeal by one of the bounced candidates, the objection cases have cleared the way for Ervin's second full term in the West Side ward.

Candidates Jasmine Jackson and Tammie Vinson, both CPS teachers, were the latest to be eliminated from the ballot late last week. In both cases, the Chicago Board of Elections found that the candidates did not have enough valid signatures to land a ballot spot.

On Tuesday, Jackson, an early childhood education teacher at William Penn Elementary School in North Lawndale, said that she planned to appeal the ruling.

"This is typical Chicago electioneering," Jackson said. "I'm not giving up. There's no way I should have been removed from the ballot."

Before the ruling, Jackson alleged that Ervin's campaign was visiting voters who had signed her petitions in an attempt to intimidate them.

Last week, a spokesman for Ervin's campaign said Jackson's allegations were without merit.

"There is absolutely no merit to these sorts of allegations," the spokesman said. "Voters in the 28th Ward expect those who seek office to make our laws to also follow them, especially when it comes to the election process."

The objections against Jackson, Vinson and five other candidates were filed by Austin resident Emma Jean Robinson, who served as chief of staff to former 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith. Robinson was also paid $11,000 in 2011 as a consultant and to provide meals to Ervin's campaign, state records show.

Robinson also filed objections to seven 28th ward candidates, which included Lyons and William Siegmund, in 2007.

Before Jackson and Vinson were eliminated from the 28th Ward ballot, objections against five other candidates were previously sustained by the Chicago Board of Elections. Those candidates were Willie McGill, a substitute teacher; Elliot Thomas, a Garfield Park resident; Alex M. Lyons; former executive director of the Greater Garfield Chamber of Commerce; Marseil Jackson, founder of the Jackson Action Coalition; and Siegmund, who ran for alderman in 2007 and 2011.

McGill has now filed to run as a write-in candidate.

Jackson said it's puzzling that none of the seven candidates hoping to challenge Ervin could land a ballot spot.

"Most of the ward is against the incumbent, yet not one viable candidate can get on he ballot to run against him? It just doesn't make sense," Jackson said.

Vinson, an active Chicago Teachers Union member, is a special education teacher at Oscar DePriest Elementary School in South Austin. This was the teacher's first time running for alderman, and next time she will be more prepared, Vinson said.

"They challenged my nephew's signature, my cousin's signature. That through me for a loop," she said.

In 2007 and 2011 races, the percentage of candidates who were successfully knocked off the ballot was about 28 to 29 percent, according to figures compiled by Aldertrack, a website that closely tracks Chicago's municipal elections.

On Tuesday, Jimm Dispensa, co-founder of Aldertrack, said it is rare for so many candidates to be knocked from a ballot, leaving only an incumbent in the race.

"I have not come across that many sustained objections leading to an incumbent that is left to run unopposed in the last two election cycles," Dispensa said.

In the end, it's the voters in the 28th Ward who aren't getting a fair shake, Vinson said.

Incumbent Ervin was appointed to the post in January 2011 by Mayor Richard Daley. A month later, he was elected to a full term as alderman. Ervin, who formerly served as Maywood's village manager, lives in East Garfield Park.

Challenged by Siegmund, Ervin won the 2011 race with nearly 85 percent of the vote.

Prior to Ervin's appointment, Smith held the seat for 27 years.

The 28th Ward includes parts of a diverse collection of West Side neighborhoods: Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale, Little Italy, Little Village, Pilsen, Tri-Taylor, University Village and the West Loop.

The election is Feb. 24.

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