On March 25, George Georgopoulos went downtown to the Cook County Clerk’s Office to file papers making him a write-in candidate for mayor. After signing the papers and having them officially stamped, he announced to the Landmark: “As of today I’m officially a write-in candidate.”
But on April 1, a spokeswoman for the Cook County Clerk stated that Georgopoulos had missed his filing deadline and was not an official candidate. The clerk’s office only tallies votes for write-ins who are officially registered to run.
According to Courtney Greve of the Cook County Clerk’s Office, Georgopoulos had to file by Feb. 7. He had been removed from the ballot by a local electoral board on Jan. 17 for failing to number the pages of his nominating petitions.
“Since the law states that Mr. Georgopoulos should have filed his write-in candidate declaration of intent by the Feb. 7 deadline, we will not tally any votes for Mr. Georgopoulos,” said Greve. “He will be notified in writing, and we are trying to reach him by phone as well.”
Greve said that a recent change in election law required candidates who were removed from the ballot early on to file by an earlier deadline. Prior to 2011, any candidate who had been challenged had until one week prior to an election to file as a write-in. This year, the early write-in filing deadline was Feb. 7.
“Now, if a candidate is removed early, they must meet the early write-in deadline that previously applied primarily to candidates who did not file petitions,” said Greve. “In essence, there is now a calendar gap that the clerk’s office believes should be closed. We will try to work with legislators to close the gap.”
Georgopoulos says he’s been in contact with the county clerk’s office and they’ve told him “it’s not 100 percent” that he won’t be allowed as a write-in “and they are still looking into the law.”
According to Georgopoulos, the clerk’s office didn’t give him a time frame by which they would let him know for sure. In the meantime, Georgopoulos says he’ll keep campaigning.
“I’m going to keep on campaigning until an answer comes from that office,” he said.
Greve acknowledged that that the clerk’s office had reached out to the state’s attorney but said she doubted it would make much difference.
“Yes, we have asked the state’s attorney for an opinion, but we have not received that opinion nor, unfortunately, do we think it will be different than our own analysis of the law,” Greve said. “You can feel secure telling people that votes for George will not be counted.”