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Ferrand taken off primary ballot, appeal expected
by Matt Simonette

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Melanie "Mel" Ferrand, an openly lesbian Chicago Public Schools librarian who was running as state representative for the 40th District—a post Ald. Deb Mell vacated last yearl—has been removed from the ballot of the March 18 primaries.

Ferrand told Windy City Times she is appealing the decision, and said that the matter will likely have to be decided in the courts.

An official from City of Chicago Board of Election Commissioners told Windy City Times that Ferrand's name was removed on Jan. 6.

Her candidacy was challenged in December by Marisa Brown, of the 2600 block of North Sacramento Avenue, and John Parizek, of the 2600 block of North Washtenaw Avenue. Attorney Michael C. Dorf of Adducci, Dorf, Lehner, Mitchell and Blankenship filed the objection on their behalf. Ferrand said that Dorf also is attorney for one her opponents, Nancy Schiavone.

The complaint said that Ferrand turned in incorrect paperwork when filing for candidacy, alleging that she submitted a receipt for filing her statement of economic interests from the Cook County Clerk's Office, but not one from the Illinois secretary of state's office. It also alleges that Ferrand did not file the statement of economic interests with the secretary of state at all.

Ferrand admitted to submitting the documents incorrectly, but said that both forms contained the same information, adding, "I wanted to be 100-percent transparent."

The paperwork is now properly on file, and she said she expects to have the matter resolved, and be back on the ballot, within a few weeks.

"We're not going to let machine-style politics bully us," Ferrand said. "I must be a challenge, or this wouldn't be done. Lots of my volunteers and supporters feel the same way."

The 40th District is currently represented by Jaime Andrade, who stepped in after Deb Mell left. Andrade was assistant to Mell's father, Dick Mell, and served as the City Council's assistant sergeant-at-arms. He is running this year to retain the seat. Other candidates include Schiavone, Aaron Goldstein, Bart Goldberg, Wendy Jo Harmston and Mark Pasieka.

Ferrand said that, for now, her campaign is "moving forward—I've been outside knocking on doors, and, when the weather was so horrible, I was inside making phone calls."

The district is on the Northwest Side and includes parts of Logan Square, Albany Park, Avondale and Irving Park.

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