Mayor’s race reaches final moments, Chicago State University faculty go on strike and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Election judge Jerome Gay on duty in January at the Loop Supersite on the first day of early voting in round one of the mayoral election.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about an eight-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

— Matt Moore (@MattKenMoore)

Weather 🌧️

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms and a high near 57 degrees. Expect showers and possibly a thunderstorm tonight with a low near 41 degrees. Showers are likely tomorrow with thunderstorms possible and a high near 64.


Top story

Heated mayoral race wraps up, but outcome may not be known for days

After $18 million in campaign spending and a five-week battle for the heart and soul of Chicago, it’s finally up to voters to decide whether to make Paul Vallas or Brandon Johnson the city’s 57th mayor.

Try not to hold your breath for the final outcome. The winner may not be known for days.

“I highly doubt either camp will concede on election night because up to 100,000 votes may not be counted when we go to bed on election night,” said pollster Matt Podgorski of M3 Strategies, whose polling correctly placed the top four finishers in Round One of the mayoral sweepstakes within roughly half a percentage point.

“Folks who have a pretty good idea of which way the late ballots break will be able to have a pretty good idea of who’s gonna win on election night,” Podgorski added. “But no one’s going to concede if there’s enough outstanding ballots for it to make a difference.”

Election Board spokesperson Max Bever agreed even a four-percentage-point gap between Vallas and Johnson tomorrow night might not be safe.

“We’ll probably have to see how those vote-by-mail ballots come back” before either camp concedes, Bever said Monday.

Every ballot returned by 7 p.m. tonight will be counted on election night. The rest will have to wait.

Technically, the board has until April 18 to count all vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by 7 p.m. Tuesday. By the close of business Monday, Bever expected to have as many as 110,000 vote by mail ballots counted. With 200,000 applications, that still leaves up to 90,000 outstanding votes — but probably less than that, based on the first round of voting, Bever said.

“Not all of those might be coming back. Of the 100,000 outstanding that we had as of election day for Feb. 28, we only got 52,000 of those back over the next two weeks. So, it’ll probably be a similar return rate,” Bever said.

“It’s safest to say it’s that first week that we get the majority of vote by mail ballots back. I’d say if it’s close on election night, we’ll know or have the majority of vote by mail ballots back by April 11.”

Our Fran Spielman has more on the mayor’s race and the potential impact of vote by mail ballots.


More news you need


A bright one ☀️

Dressed to impress: Cosplayers and fans celebrate C2E2 convention

In her real life, Claire Rogoski works in a funeral home. But every now and then, she dresses up as Wonder Woman to refill her “happiness bank,” she said.

Rogoski, an apprentice funeral home director and embalmer from Schaumburg, is one of the tens of thousands of cosplayers, artists and fans who attended the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, or C2E2 this past weekend.

C2E2 is a three-day extravaganza of all things comics, pop culture and fandom. Fans swarmed McCormick Place starting Friday morning, some wearing colorful wigs, striking makeup and handmade costumes.

“Coming to a place like this, seeing people alive and celebrating, and they’re wearing such amazing outfits, and there’s so much creativity ... That’s super meaningful,” said Rogoski, who has been attending C2E2 since 2011.

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Attendees of C2E2 pose in costume at McCormick Place on Saturday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Theo Kriha, an art student at Columbia College Chicago, called C2E2 “iconic” for its size and offerings. Carter Smalley, an event spokesperson, said they expect around 70,000 attendees, 250 vendors and 500 artists this year.

Cosplay is a family activity for Joe Hernandez, 51, who choked up talking about coming to conventions with his daughter Breña. Hernandez wore an elaborate Candyland costume complete with a cupcake hat and scepter. Breña, a college student, flew in from New York for her 12th C2E2 with her dad.

Addie Markiewicz, 18, came to the convention with three friends from her hometown of Lockport. Markiewicz said cosplay is a way to express herself.

“It gives us a chance to be someone else and express what we love in a way where other people can admire,” said Markiewicz, who wore a bright blue wig to cosplay a character from the video game Genshin Impact.

Catherine Odom has more from C2E2’s opening day. And Jennifer Kho and Ashlee Rezin list some of the best costumes at C2E2 in Chicago, complete with interviews of the attendees and their fits.


From the press box


Your daily question☕

Do you live in an apartment? If you could say anything to your neighbor — without consequence — what would you say?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Do you think the city needs more bike lanes? Tell us why or why not.

Here’s what some of you said…

“I’m all for more bike lanes so long as bicyclists follow the rules of the road, which many do not.” — Anne-Marie St. Germaine

“We already have plenty of asphalt, we need a lot less cars!” — Dave Coulter

“Nope. More pedestrian malls and wider sidewalks. Loads of bike lakes already — every street can’t be a bike lane.” — Christine Stuminski

“Yes, to make traffic safer and move faster for both cars and bikes. It establishes clear markers of where to drive. It’s like ‘No Passing’ markers on highways for cars. Every major road in Chicago should have a bike lane, protected bike lanes are best but if not at least clearly marked, and signed, bike lanes.” — Robert Kastigar

“Chicago needs more protected bike lanes. The existence of a painted line alone doesn’t decrease drivers’ speed or caution and many drivers are confused about the laws concerning bikes. Better design, like concrete barriers and green boxes to demarcate space for bikes, will make biking safer. Making biking safer will increase biking. Increased biking makes for a better Chicago—cleaner air, less noise pollution and in general happier people.” — Laura W.

“No more bike lanes. More and more automobiles are added to the streets daily. The bike lanes are wider than the car lanes on most streets. Cars, trucks, SUVs, buses, and other working vehicles on the streets, the bicycle lanes are dangerous for drivers, and utility vehicles.” — Clifola Coleman

“I suppose the city could use more bike lanes, but only if there’s a way to enforce traffic laws on bike riders. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bicyclists run stop signs and red lights and ignore other traffic laws. I’ve narrowly avoided being struck by a bicyclist twice in just the last year as I walked in my residential neighborhood. And I’m always worried that the prevalent stop-sign-ignoring will cause an accident while I’m driving. Chicago can be bike-friendly, but only if the people riding those bikes will obey traffic laws.” — Virginia G.

“Yes, more protected bike lanes mean less traffic. It’s also a better usage of space, especially on the Southside where we have so many too-wide multi-lane roads going through residential areas. That encourages crazy driving like it’s a highway. The paint-only bike lanes are almost worthless, so don’t bother with those.” — Ben B.

“We need more as usage and demand will only rise.” — James Scofield

“No! The bike lanes we’ve already got are seriously obstructing not only car traffic, but CTA buses. Some bike lanes need to be eliminated, such as 55th Street in Hyde Park. We need to encourage people to use transit, which can carry folks who are old or otherwise can’t ride a bicycle. The bike lanes make the #55 bus run slower, which is a problem. The bicycle utopia is just not going to happen.” — Roger Deschner

“No, we do not need any more bike lanes. Unfortunately, the bike lanes that are available now, bikers do not utilize the lanes. They dart in and out of traffic which is unsafe for everyone.” — John Coruthers


Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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