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Suit filed to keep sloganeering off ballot

CHICAGO, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Cook County Clerk David Orr says there's no place for electioneering on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

Orr asked State's Attorney Dick Devine to file suit to keep the nicknames of two candidates -- Republican Les "Cut the Taxes" Golden and Libertarian Stephanie "Vs. the Machine" Sailor -- off the ballot. Golden is seeking a place in the state Legislature while Sailor is running for Congress.

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The suit was filed late Tuesday and argues only nicknames by which a candidate is "commonly known" should be allowed on the ballot.

Orr already has printed ballots without the nicknames but the state Board of Elections wants those ballots reprinted.

"This has nothing to do with freedom of speech," Orr told a news conference. "This is an attempt, frankly, for free publicity."

The Board of Elections beef has nothing to do with the nicknames. Rather, the board is upset Orr acted on his own initiative despite state law that reserves objections over how a candidate's name appears for the candidate's opponent.

"The statute is perfectly clear that the county clerks have an obligation to print the ballot in the manner and with the names and in the order that the state board gives to them," general counsel Al Zimmer told the Chicago Tribune.

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Orr said he sees nothing funny in the nicknames.

"Just think of what creative minds could come up if this were allowed to be a precedent," he said. "What kind of racial animosity could some candidate come up with to try to distinguish himself from others?"

Golden is seeking a seat in the state House from Chicago's West Side while Sailor is campaigning for the seat held by Jan Schakowsky.

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