10 Fast Facts About Voting In Chicago’s Municipal Elections
You’ve made up your mind (finally!) and are ready to vote in Chicago’s 2019 municipal elections. Here are 10 last minute things to know:
- First things first, look up your polling place using your address or last name here. Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
- If you’re still staring at a blank vote-by-mail ballot on your kitchen table, it’s probably best to vote in person. Just bring the blank ballot to your local polling place, hand it over and you will get a different ballot to cast in person. (Or hustle to the post office because mail-in ballots must be postmarked by February 26, Election Day.)
- If the dog ate your vote-by-mail ballot (aka you don’t have it when you show up to the polls in person), you must sign an affidavit saying you did not already cast your vote. Voting “early and often” is not just Chicago folklore. It is a felony.
- Speaking of funny business on Election Day, campaigning is not allowed at polling locations. Typically, there are blue cones signaling a boundary against fliers, yard signs and anybody leafleting at the last minute. But people can report concerns and complaints to the Board of Elections by calling 312-269-7870.
- There are no Democratic or Republican Party ballots. Chicago has held runoff elections since 1999. This means if no candidate gets 50 percent plus one of the vote (a likely scenario in the crowded mayor’s race), the top two will go head-to-head in a second round. This year, the runoff is set for April 2.
- If you moved since you last voted, you can still register at the polls on Election Day, just be sure to bring two forms of ID, at least one of which shows your current address.
- Nearly 126,000 people voted early this year. That’s more than the 89,869 who cast early ballots in 2015, the 73,268 that did so in 2011, and the paltry 23,759 who went to the polls prior to Election Day in 2007, according to the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners.
- According to the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners, this is the fourth time in the last century there has been an open race for mayor with no incumbent frontrunner. It happened in 2011, after Richard M. Daley retired; in 1947, when incumbent Edward Kelly didn’t run after the Democratic Party slated Martin Kennelly instead; and in 1923, when Chicago’s last Republican Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson decided not to seek re-election.
- Never before have there been 14 candidates for mayor on the ballot. However, there have been crowded races for aldermanic seats, including in 2011 when 18 people ran in the 24th Ward.
- Winners may not be clear for a couple of days, or even weeks. The official results are expected to be certified on March 13.
Becky Vevea covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @beckyvevea.