Inflammatory Language Rejected From Wisc. Ballot

Ieshuh Griffin, an independent candidate for the Wisconsin state Assembly, holds up her nomination papers Wednesday, July 21, 2010, at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., after an election oversight board said the Milwaukee woman cannot describe herself on the ballot as "NOT the 'whiteman's bitch.'" State law allows independent candidates to have five words describing them placed after their name on the ballot. Griffin argued that the phrase was protected free speech but the state Government Accountability Board said that the statement was pejorative and not allowed. (AP Photo/Todd Richmond)
AP Photo/Todd Richmond
A legislative candidate from Wisconsin barred from using a racially charged phrase to describe herself on the ballot is taking her fight to federal court.

State law allows independent candidates to have five words describing themselves placed after their names on the ballot.

Ieshuh Griffin, an independent running for Milwaukee's 10th District seat in the state Assembly, wants to use the phrase, "NOT the 'whiteman's bitch."'

The state's Government Accountability Board on Wednesday barred her from using the language on the ballot, and on Thursday she filed a federal writ of habeas corpus seeking an order allowing the wording.

The board said the wording was pejorative and therefore not allowed.

Griffin argues the wording is protected free speech, and defended her slogan to CBS Affiliate WDJT correspondent Dylan Wilbur.

"'Whiteman's bitch' is in quotations," said Griffin. "It's not geared towards a person. The whiteman is a compound word put together. A bitch is a dog or a rollover.

"I'm making a statement that says, 'I'm not an average politician,'" she told Wilbur.

After first saying she couldn't use the phrase on the grounds that it's obscene and derogatory, the state's Government Accountability Board voted 3-2 Wednesday to allow it, reported WDJT. However, four votes were needed.

So as of now, Griffin will only have "independent" next to her name on the ballot.