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Elections staff: Strike superintendent candidate from ballot

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Staff at the Wisconsin Elections Commission have recommended that the panel keep a state schools superintendent off the spring ballot because she used “Dr.” in front of her name on her nomination papers.

The commission was set to consider whether to block Shandowlyn Hendricks-Williams from the ballot during a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

A state statute prohibits candidates from using abbreviations or titles at the top of their nomination papers.

Hendricks-Williams, who has worked in Gov. Tony Evers’ Milwaukee office and as an assistant director of teacher education at the state Department of Public Instruction, is one of seven candidates vying for the open superintendent post. One of the other candidates, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr, filed a challenge last week. Kerr also alleged that Hendricks-Williams’ address on the papers doesn’t match her address on her campaign registration statement.

According to a memo that commission staff wrote to commissioners, Hendricks-Williams argued that using the title was a “minor deviation from the statute” and commission staff never pointed out the error. As for her address, she insisted that the address on her campaign registration was a mailing address and the address on her nomination papers is her residential address.

The staff recommended the commission reject the address challenge but block Hendricks-Williams from the ballot because she included her title on her papers’ header, saying that’s specifically prohibited.

Superintendent Carolyn Stanford-Taylor has chosen not to seek reelection. The primary for the nonpartisan seat is scheduled for Feb. 16. The general election is set for April 16.

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