Rules of the mayoral road

19 Sep

By DePolitics10/11.com Staff

This will be the first open Chicago mayoral election since 1947, where an incumbent has not run for Mayor of Chicago. That’s 64 years! Undoubtedly there will be confusion. Candidates interested in Chicago’s top job will have to follow the rules set by the Chicago Board of Elections.

Here, according to board spokesman Jim Allen, are some useful details about the process:

• Nov 15, 2010, is first day candidates can file for the mayoral race. Deadline to file is Nov 22, 2010.

• All candidates are required to file petitions with at least 12,500 signatures. Names cannot include anyone with felony convictions, anyone who has debts or obligations to the city, including outstanding parking tickets or unpaid water bills, or other unpaid city business. And of course, each person must be at least 18 years old.

• All candidates are required to live in city of Chicago for at least the last calendar year.

• Considering White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, has expressed interest in running for Mayor of Chicago, here is a question being asked by many: If someone is a registered Chicago voter and owns a home in Chicago, but currently lives in Washington, DC, can he/she still run for Mayor? According to Allen, it is a legal issue that never has come up in the past. He gave this hypothetical answer: “If there’s a candidate who happens to be serving in the White House cabinet and maintains a residence in the city of Chicago, it’s possible they could qualify to run for Mayor.”

• Expect objections against petitions filed. At the mayoral level, Allen said people always file objections against every candidate. Mayor Daley’s petitions were subject to objections the last time he ran for Mayor, in February 2007. Typically objections focus on the quality and quantity of names on the candidate’s petition and can also touch on residency issues.

• There is no primary held in a Chicago mayoral election (there used to be primaries up until 1995 when the Illinois election law changed). The next Mayoral election is February 22, 2011. If no candidate receives 50% + 1 then there will be a runoff election on April 5th, 2011.

• Mayor candidates names are not listed with their political party affiliation on the voter ballot.

• The candidate who prevails in February’s election will be sworn in as the new Mayor of Chicago on May 16, 2011.

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