It turns out Chicagoans can cast a vote on whether to impose term limits on their mayor after all.
The only catch is that, as the situation currently stands, those votes won’t count.
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled earlier this month that two binding referendum questions advanced by former Gov. Pat Quinn were legally invalid and should not appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
But election officials went ahead and included the referendums on the ballot anyway because of concerns their decision might later be overturned in the courts, a board spokesman said.
Those referendums — on whether to limit Chicago mayors to two four-year terms and whether to create an elected office of consumer advocate — appear on the touchscreen ballots already in use by city residents taking advantage of early voting.
The questions also appear on 13,000 mail ballots already sent to voters who requested them, with another 50,000 going in the mail shortly, said election board spokesman Jim Allen.
That will continue to be the case.
Although voters will be allowed to vote on the questions, the elections board will not officially report the results unless ordered to do so by the courts, Allen said.
The board ruled Sept. 12 that petitions filed by Quinn’s Take Charge Chicago group were too late because the legal limit of three referendums per election had already been met by three advisory questions ordered up by the City Council. In addition, the board ruled Quinn’s group erred by including both the term limits and consumer advocate questions on the same petition.
A Circuit Court judge this week threw out on technical grounds a lawsuit from Quinn appealing the election board ruling. Quinn said he will refile the suit. All parties expect the issue to be decided ultimately by a higher court.
Allen said election officials couldn’t wait for a final resolution from the courts before preparing the ballot.
“Let the courts sort it out later,” he said