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EDITORIAL: In a mayoral election that’s up for grabs, your vote really counts

Early voting for the Chicago municipal election will begin Tuesday, Jan. 29. | Sun-Times file photo

Early voting for the Chicago municipal election is underway in all 50 wards. | Sun-Times file photo

“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.

EDITORIAL

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


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