PARK RIDGE, Ill. (CBS) -- A Park Ridge man with hopes of running for political office says he missed his chance to get his name on the ballot next month.
He also says the U.S. Postal Service is to blame.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Wednesday, Michael Walters thought he did everything right. The aspirant Illinois State Senate candidate said he was assured by Post Office employees that his certified letters would get to their required stops in plenty of time.
The exact opposite happened.
It has been 20 years since Walters had his last political gig. But he was ready to jump back in as a Republican write-in candidate for the 28th District Illinois State Senate seat – after the only other GOP candidate recently withdrew.
"I decided that I had a brief window of time prior to April 28 to submit a write-in affidavit," Walters said.
That required two notarized declaration letters be field with the Cook County and Chicago election boards. On April 23 – five days before the deadline – Walters sent those declaration letters via certified mail, preferring to avoid going downtown.
"I was given explicit assurance by the Park Ridge Post Office on April 23 that the letters should be delivered by close of business on Monday, April 25," Walters said.
That would have beaten the deadline by three days.
But April 25 came and went. Walters tried tracking the letters.
"Each of the days of the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th, there were no updates to the location," he said.
Six days after Walters sent the certified letters, they were finally delivered – missing the deadline by less h tan 24 hours. A few days after that, Walters got letters from the Cook County Clerk and the Chicago Board of Elections stating that the missed deadline means any write-in votes cast in his name will not be counted.
"Very frustrating," he said, "and I feel like my civil rights have been violated."
Walters also says he was told on the phone by an election official that a postmark of April 23 would count. But election officials told Kozlov postmarks do not count – per state statute.
On Wednesday afternoon, Post Office spokesman Timothy Norman said they are concerned anytime they do not provide the level of service customers expect and deserve.
He conceded Walters' letters were not delivered the way they should have been, and apologized.
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