In the wake of a recent Cook County court decision to remove him from the ballot, Isiah Brandon, candidate for trustee with the All In for Maywood (AIM) ticket, has resolved to stay in the race. Marcias Scaggs, his running mate and fellow candidate for trustee, said that the ticket has updated all of its campaign literature in order to accommodate the recent development. “He had gained too much momentum to take him off the ballot,” Scaggs said of Brandon. I asked if this meant that Brandon’s candidacy was merely symbolic. “No. If he gets enough votes, he can win.”
It will be an uphill struggle. For starters, there’s the typical knee-jerk assumption that voters in Maywood aren’t informed enough to know anything about write-in, or sticker, candidates. The statistics would suggest that it’s enough of a job trying to run as a candidate on the ballot, let alone one who’s not. In 2011, the year the last local election was held in Maywood, around 17 percent of those eligible to vote in the Village actually did. Brandon, however, apparently views this as an opportunity, rather than an insurmountable obstacle.
He and his running mates have been papering the Village with a flyer headed, “AIM to Make History!: Make your vote count!” The flyer cautions potential voters that they shouldn’t punch 22, because “it won’t count.” Beneath this directive are printed the following instructions:
On a paper ballot: Before you slide your ballot into the machine
- Write the name of the write-in candidate on the line provided in a particular race. Isiah Brandon, Trustee
- Mark the corresponding arrow
On a touch screen:
- Press the ‘write-in’ box at the bottom of the list of candidates. A keyboard will appear.
- Type a name using the letters on the keyboard and space key to separate the first and last name.
- Isiah Brandon
- When finished, press ‘OK’.
After receiving one of these campaign flyers, I encountered Brandon leaving the Maywood Municipal Building. He was on his way to the AIM campaign headquarters across the street, located inside of AIM candidate for clerk’s, Viola Mims’, Vintage Realty. I wanted to know what all of the emotional bloodletting between his campaign and the Maywood United Party might have cost. “Probably more than $40,000,” he said. Brandon claimed that about $25,000 of taxpayer money “was wasted” on fees that went to the Village lawyer to oversee the challenging process. The rest, he said, comprised legal fees spent by the campaigns themselves to either keep Brandon on, or knock him off, the ballot.
Audrey Jaycox, candidate for clerk on the Maywood United Party ticket, insists that the figures are wrong. “That’s not true,” she said. I’ve asked both sides to provide documentation backing up their claims. More information is forthcoming.
“So what led to the appellate court’s decision to remove him from the ballot?” I asked Marcias Scaggs. Scaggs said that it was a mere technicality. “He was ruled ineligible, because of a date on a piece of paper.” He said something about a reinstallation date for Brandon’s candidacy that the AIM party may have missed. Unfamiliar with the innards of election rules, I couldn’t make much of this. I simply shook my head in the presence of his words, expressing a vague disappointment that I could feel, but could not quite articulate or understand. More as this story develops…