D-Day for Chicago Mayoral Signatures

If you want to run for mayor of Chicago, you have a few hours left to gather signatures and turn them in to the elections board.

Today is the deadline for candidate petitions, meaning mayoral candidates must hand in 12,500 valid signatures by the end of the day. Chicago election officials have been accepting signatures since Nov. 15.

As of Friday, these candidates had filed:

  • Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
  • Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun
  • U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis
  • City Colleges of Chicago Executive Committee Chairman Gery Chico
  • Chicago City Clerk Miguel Del Valle
  • Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus
  • Author M. Tricia Lee
  • Tyrone Carter
  • Jay Stone

Given that petitions can be challenged, candidates will need to turn in at least 25,000 signatures to make it past such challenges, Chicago political insiders have said. Emanuel, for instance, turned in 90,000 on Nov. 15.

At least two more candidates have filed today, according to a Board of Election Commissioners spokesman, who said neither of those candidates, to his knowledge, hold city or federal office. Which means the field of competitive candidates is probably limited to the upper two thirds of the list above.

Emanuel is the heavy favorite, having collected 36 percent in an Anzalone-Liszt poll sponsored by the Chicago Teamsters earlier this month. His nearest competitor, Davis, collected 14 percent.

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Signatures consist, generally, of a signature and an address, but the elections board says this year has seen candidates begin providing a blank space for signers to print their names, making those signatures easier to defend when challenged (challenger and challenged share the burden of proof in the board's review process). Signers must be registered voters, and they must be registered at the addresses they provide on the petition. In sizing up signatures for potential challenge, campaigns can examine the original petitions submitted by rival candidates, or they can request copies.

Campaigns and registered voters have until Nov. 30 to file challenges with the elections board.