Photo caption: Shawn Walker
Says rollercoaster signature challenge due to incumbent Jason Ervin
First, he was on the ballot, then off, and now Shawn Walker, a 28th Ward aldermanic candidate, is officially back on after the Board of Election Commissioners late Tuesday, February 21, ruled in his favor.
In an interview with the Chicago Crusader, Walker said of the 1100 signatures he had submitted, he had 473 valid signatures—one more than what was required to run for alderman.
“The Board made the recommendation to accept the hearing officer’s recommendation to put me back on the ballot. I was on the ballot Monday, February 20, so I will remain on the ballot,” Walker said. “We’re all good.”
“We also did a FOIA requesting a status on all Early Voting in the 28th Ward,” Walker said.
Walker had been knocked off the ballot by the Board of Election Commissioners forcing him to appeal to the Circuit Court, which ruled in his favor.
“This all happened because I was running against Alderman Jason Ervin who is the chairman of the City Council Black Caucus,” he stated.
It was a dramatic turn of events and an end to a fierce battle by the powerful Alderman Ervin to be re-elected. The Illinois Appellate Court just entered an order requiring the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to immediately restore the name of Walker to the ballot. The Board also suspended all voting in the 28th Ward until further notice.
“At this time, no voter who resides in the 28th Ward will be able to obtain an Early Voting ballot at any of the Early Voting sites citywide. As of February 17, there were 359 EV (Early Vote) ballots cast by 28th Ward voters. Those ballots are being sorted and isolated until further notice.
“No new 28th Ward Vote By Mail ballots will be sent until the candidate’s name is restored to those ballots.
“The Board has emailed all 28th Ward voters today to alert them to this issue and will contact all 28th Ward voters again once Early Voting and Vote By Mail has resumed,” the Board said in a statement.
When contacted, Walker said, “We were very pleased with the court’s decision. We felt we weren’t given a fair review of the case at the Appellate Court level. We appealed to the Circuit Court, which remanded it back down to the Chicago Board of Election for review.”
There were 359 Early Votes cast at a time when Walker was not on the ballot. “We will deal with that issue, too. If these voters didn’t want to vote for Jason, they did not have an opportunity to vote for me,” Walker said.
There was an issue of 68 affidavits (of Walker signatures) submitted by Ervin, which were accepted by the Board without examination of those signatures. “We don’t know who filed them (the affidavits) or if they were signed right,” Walker said.
Walker said the Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Board of Election Commissioners to preserve the votes that have been voted but not count them. “But the Board did something different. They said they were going to count them and will not give the residents the right to vote over.”
In explaining the affidavit issue, Walker said these affidavits state that “somebody signed my petition, and they also signed his petition. When you sign two petitions, it said whoever gets theirs notarized first is the way they go towards. I should have gotten credit for 68 signatures because two people signed the same thing.”
Walker is a 49-year-old former substitute teacher/construction consultant who has crafted an agenda that includes building mini-size, pop-up business incubators in the form of modules on vacant lots to create entrepreneurs and jobs for the community.
Walker says the 28th Ward has more vacant lots than any ward in the city. He wants to put those lots to good business use by building “Module Cities” within the ward.
The eldest of four children, Walker was raised in the 28th Ward. He is a single father of a 25-year-old son. Walker graduated from the Westinghouse Vocational High School and received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Chicago State University majoring in business management. He is currently enrolled in a MBA program at the University of Phoenix.
With more than 20 years of experience, Walker is a former construction consultant/project manager and has managed more than 40 citywide construction projects ranging from $1 million to $15 million.
Currently, Walker is a construction consultant for the Chicago Public Schools and has managed and completed more than 95 school renovations and new construction projects totaling more than $100 million.
He wants to take that business acumen and turn it into “gold” for the 28th Ward in the form of “cities” of small, modular businesses similar to shopping malls. Walker said he would want the input of the community first, but he believes creating entrepreneurs from the community will be a win-win situation he says will reduce crime.
When asked why he wants to be an alderman, Walker said, “I think it is time for new leadership within our community, and with my leadership of being accountable, effective, trustworthy and fair, I believe in serving the people.”