“My concern is that there will be a razor-thin difference in votes between second and third place,” Chicago Board of Election Commissioners Chair Marisel Hernandez said Monday about the Feb. 26 mayoral election.
And that is why, in this election, everyone who’s eligible has really got to vote. The stakes are higher than they’ve been in years. Chicago is facing one of its most important elections in generations, with 14 people vying to be mayor.
Only the top two vote-getters will move to the April runoff. Your vote could make all the difference between giving your candidate a second shot at City Hall — or no shot at all.
A total of 6,009 voters have cast their ballots since early voting got underway Jan. 29, with some 4,200 ballots cast at early voting sites that opened Monday in the city’s wards and the remaining votes cast at the Loop Super Site, the Board of Elections reports.
“Typically, we get a bump when the wards open,” board spokesman Jim Allen told us. “That starts to really climb the Monday after that, and then keeps growing.”
Polls show lots of people still haven’t made up their minds in this free-for-all. None of the candidates reached 15 percent support among likely voters surveyed in a recent Sun-Times poll. Most candidates didn’t crack double digits. The biggest share are the undecided voters.
That makes this arguably the most up-for-grabs — and truly democratic — election our city has enjoyed in a century. Because the incumbent is not seeking reelection, which is a rarity. And this is only the second nonpartisan election without an incumbent on the ballot in the post-Democratic Machine era. There is no party-anointed candidate.
Just an open field, with no one close to a lock. And so much at stake.
The candidates have very different ideas and priorities, as shown by their responses to our Editorial Board questionnaire. They differ on how and whether to raise taxes, how to help long-neglected black and brown neighborhoods prosper, how to overhaul the Chicago Police Department, how to rid City Hall of entrenched corruption . . . and on and on.
Chicago is at a turning point. It matters profoundly, with real historic resonance, who Chicago’s next mayor is, and who your next alderman is. Who can best tackle our city’s most intractable problems and make it “the city that works” for everyone from CEOs to cops to window washers?
If you worry about paying higher taxes, vote.
If you worry about housing costs and gentrification, vote.
If you think Chicago does, or doesn’t, need an elected school board, vote.
If you worry about crime and safety, vote.
Chicago has seen huge turnouts in some previous elections. Harold Washington drew in voters like a magnet — those who adored him and those who loathed him. Turnout topped 70 percent when he was on the ballot. Voters also who were fed up with the status quo and came out in force for Jane Byrne against the Machine.
Elections officials hope this year’s turnout will top 2011’s 42 percent, the last time there was no incumbent in the race. But, honestly, given the stakes, we would hope for a much better turnout than that.
Check our voting guide to read our mayoral and aldermanic endorsements. Then tell us we’re right, or tell us we’re nuts.
But, either way, we urge you to vote. Make Chicago your Chicago.
Here’s the list of early voting sites. For voting hours and more information, go to https://chicagoelections.com/en/early-voting.html.
Loop Super Site, 175 W. Washington
Ward 1 Goldblatt’s Building, 1615 W. Chicago
Ward 2 Near North Library, 310 W. Division
Ward 3 Hall Branch Library, 4801 S. Michigan
Ward 4 King Community Center, 4314 S Cottage Grove
Ward 5 Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island
Ward 6 Dist. 3 Police Station, 7040 S. Cottage Grove
Ward 7 Jeffrey Manor Library, 2401 E. 100th St.
Ward 8 Olive Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn
Ward 9 Palmer Park, 201 E. 111th St.
Ward 10 Vodak/Eastside Library, 3710 E. 106th St.
Ward 11 Dist. 9 Police Station, 3120 S. Halsted
Ward 12 McKinley Park , 2210 W Pershing
Ward 13 West Lawn Park, 4233 W. 65th St.
Ward 14 Archer Heights Library, 5055 S. Archer
Ward 15 Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.
Ward 16 Lindblom Park, 6054 S. Damen
Ward 17 Thurgood Marshall Library, 7506 S. Racine
Ward 18 Wrightwood Ashburn Library, 8530 S. Kedzie
Ward 19 Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St.
Ward 20 Bessie Coleman Library, 731 E. 63rd St.
Ward 21 Woodson Library, 9525 S. Halsted St.
Ward 22 Toman Library, 2708 S. Pulaski
Ward 23 Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Pl.
Ward 24 St. Agatha Parish 3147 W. Douglas Blvd.
Ward 25 Chinatown Library, 2100 S. Wentworth
Ward 26 Humboldt Pk Library, 1605 N. Troy
Ward 27 Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago
Ward 28 West Side Learning Center, 4624 W. Madison
Ward 29 Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale
Ward 30 Kilbourn Park, 3501 N. Kilbourn
Ward 31 Portage Cragin Library, 5108 W. Belmont
Ward 32 Bucktown-Wicker Park Library, 1701 N. Milwaukee
Ward 33 McFetridge Sports Center, 3843 N. California
Ward 34 West Pullman Library, 830 W. 119th St.
Ward 35 NEIU El Centro, 3390 N. Avondale
Ward 36 West Belmont Library, 3104 N. Narragansett
Ward 37 West Chicago Ave. Library, 4856 W. Chicago
Ward 38 Hiawatha Park, 8029 W. Forest Preserve
Ward 39 North Park Village Admin., 5801 N. Pulaski
Ward 40 Budlong Woods Library, 5630 N. Lincoln
Ward 41 Roden Library, 6083 N. Northwest Highway
Ward 42 Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State
Ward 43 Lincoln Park Library, 1150 W. Fullerton
Ward 44 John Merlo Library, 644 W. Belmont
Ward 45 Dist. 16 Police Station, 5151 N. Milwaukee
Ward 46 Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson
Ward 47 Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside
Ward 48 Edgewater Library, 6000 N. Broadway
Ward 49 Pottawatomie Park, 7340 N. Rogers
Ward 50 Warren Park, 6601 N. Western
- Sun-Times aldermanic endorsements
- Lori Lightfoot for mayor — and a new Chicago Way
- Ameya Pawar for city treasurer