Will write-ins bollix balloting in Second Suffolk?

Dianne Wilkerson certainly doesn’t have the sway to pull Barack Obama down with her. But might she make life difficult today for constituents in her district who flock to the polls in support of his historic candidacy?

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Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

On Friday, following her arrest on federal corruption charges, Wilkerson threw in the towel on what was already a long-shot write-in campaign to retain the state Senate seat she has held since 1993. On Saturday, Wilkerson urged a gathering of supporters to focus their efforts on supporting Obama. But when some asked whether they could still vote for her, Wilkerson campaign manager Boyce Slayman said she responded, "This is America, and it’s a democracy. You can vote for anybody you want." Why not a message to supporters to not write-in her name or do anything that might make voting more difficult for Roxbury residents who have been so good to her over the years?

With some Wilkerson supporters saying they still plan to vote for her, today’s Boston Globe reports that Boston elections officials are assigning extra staff to polls in the Second Suffolk district to deal with any problems the write-in balloting might cause.  If a significant number of write-ins by Wilkerson diehards leads to longer lines or in any other way gums up the works at Second Suffolk polling places, it will be a sad coda to what is surely her final campaign.