FEB 28, 2023
Election Day 2023 includes race for mayor, 50 aldermen and 66 new police district councilors
Election Day is Tuesday. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]
Chicagoans head to the polls for Election Day today to select the city’s next mayor, 50 aldermen and 66 members of newly created Police District Councils.
Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m., following weeks of the option to cast ballots early in person or mail ballots in. By the end of the weekend before Election Day, early voter turnout and the number of Chicagoans mailing in their ballots was up compared to 2019.
The nine-way race for mayor includes incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is asking voters to give her a second term in office. Lightfoot’s top challengers are former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1) and U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.). Also in the race are businessman Willie Wilson, Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Ald. Sophia King (4), activist Ja’Mal Green and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6).
Eleven candidates initially filed petitions to run for mayor, but two candidates — Frederick Collins and Johnny Logalbo — were removed from the ballot in the petition challenge process. And while Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) was the first candidate in 2022 to officially launch his campaign for mayor, he was also the first candidate to officially pull out of the race in November on the day petition signatures were due.
- Ten candidates file petitions to challenge Lightfoot in 2023 mayoral election
- Nearly half the 11 candidates hoping to run for mayor in February will face petition challenges
- Lopez announces he’s running for mayor, first major candidate to officially throw hat in the ring for 2023
It is unlikely any candidate will net more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday, which will force a runoff election between the top two vote-getters on April 4. The mayor and City Council members are not set to be sworn into office for the next four years until May.
At a time when tensions between the mayor and members of the City Council have risen while Lightfoot attempted to push through legislation including the ComEd franchise agreement leading up to the election, all nine mayoral candidates offered a look at how they would work with the City Council.
Candidates’ answers varied on topics including whether they would allow aldermen to choose their own committee chairs, how they would work to pass a budget approximately six months after taking office and where they stand on the use of aldermanic prerogative.
Additionally, while public safety, economic development and affordable housing are prominent issues this election cycle, transportation issues including bike lane infrastructure, CTA reliability and pedestrian safety have also entered the limelight.
Neither city Clerk Anna Valencia nor city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin are facing challengers this year.
All 50 aldermen are also up for reelection, though 10 aldermen — including those who represent most of the wards along the lakefront — are retiring this spring. Additionally, two aldermen — King and Sawyer — left their council seats to run for mayor and four aldermen retired early or were forced to resign in 2022.
Ten aldermanic candidates, including nine incumbent aldermen, are not facing challengers in this year’s election.
And for the first time ever, Chicagoans will select three candidates to represent them on civilian police oversight district councils based on the police district in which they live.
The three-member councils across the city’s 22 police districts were created under a civilian oversight measure (SO2019-4132) the City Council approved in 2021, establishing Chicago’s first-ever citywide commission meant to provide oversight of the Chicago Police Department. The district councils are empowered to help residents resolve local public safety issues, gather community input on police department policy and procedures and nominate members of the citywide Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. They are required to hold monthly meetings.
The top three vote-getters in each of the District Council elections Tuesday will win seats to the new offices. The races will not go to a runoff, unlike the mayoral and City Council races.
Along with the territory of newly elected offices came the question of how candidates can get on the ballot. Multiple groups of candidates filed their petition signatures as slates, meaning each candidate didn’t turn in a separate set of signatures, but rather they filed one set together.
While the slates faced challenges to their candidacy at the Chicago Electoral Board and the Circuit and Appellate Courts, a judge last week ultimately affirmed the Electoral Board’s decision to allow the slates to remain on the ballot.
In district council races where there are fewer than three candidates on the ballot, write-in candidates are all but sure to make it to office.
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