Danny Davis gets top spot on ballot for Chicago mayor

December 1, 2010

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Sheriff' Deputy Dominic Avila and the election board's Jim Allen put candidate names in pill bottles for the ballot lottery.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago, will appear first on the ballot in the race for Chicago mayor. A lottery to determine ballot positions was held Wednesday.

Seven candidates for mayor turned in their paperwork at the earliest possible moment on November 22nd. So on Wednesday at noon at the offices of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, a drawing was held to determine ballot order. Candidate names were stuffed into empty pill bottles, which were dropped into an old wooden box and shaken up.

"The first name is Danny K. Davis," said Dominic Avila, a Cook County sheriff's deputy.

"[It] puts your hopes up a bit, and you say, 'Well, at least I'm going to be the first name that the voters will see,'" Davis told reporters after the drawing.

Academic studies of ballot order show that sometimes being listed first can give the candidate a few extra percentage points. But Davis tried to downplay the importance, calling voters educated and sophisticated.

"They know who they want to vote for, and they're going to vote on the basis of that knowledge, and not really on the basis of position on the ballot," Davis said.

Twenty candidates have filed to run for mayor, but some could still be booted from the ballot by the board of elections. Initial hearings for petition challenges are scheduled for next Monday.