Crusader Staff Report
As the challenge hearings for mayoral and aldermanic candidates draws to a close, the Chicago Board of Elections has confirmed January 29 to be the start date for Early Voting.
According to the board’s website, Early Voting will begin at the Loop Super Site for Early Voting at 175 W. Washington. On February 11, Early Voting will expand to locations in all 50 wards.
Chicago voters who need to register or apply to vote by mail may visit chicagoelections.com or visit 69 W. Washington St., sixth floor.
According to Illinois law, Early Voting should start 40 days before the February 26 elections. Board officials had set that date to January 17, but with nearly 200 challenge hearings in the mayoral and aldermanic races, the final ballot to go before voters had not been completed. While the marathon hearings continued, the start date for Early Voting had been uncertain.
Some 21 mayoral candidates and hundreds of aldermanic candidates in all 50 wards filed their petitions to run last November.
In the city’s 18 predominately Black wards, 89 candidates filed to run. As of press time Wednesday, there are 14 mayoral candidates and 67 aldermanic candidates vying for 18 seats in the city’s 18 Black wards.
Mayoral candidate Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown was removed from the ballot after the election board ruled that she fell short of the required 12,500 signatures. Brown accused the board of elections of fraud weeks ago, but said in news reports that she would not contest the board’s final ruling.
In the 18 predominately Black wards, some 22 candidates are off the ballots as of press time Wednesday. The latest candidates to fall during the challenge hearings are Flora “Flo” Digby in the 7th ward. Incumbent Gregory I. Mitchell, who started with six opponents, now has two. Opponent Jedidiah L. Brown has a recommendation pending from his challenge hearing.
Meanwhile Aldermanic candidate Kevin Bailey’s objections to the petition signatures of all 19 of his opponents in the 20th ward has had little impact. Only four have been removed from the ballot.