Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown appears poised to be kicked off Chicago’s mayoral ballot, potentially winnowing the crowded field down to 13.
On Friday night, a hearing officer at the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners recommended that Brown’s name not appear on the Feb. 26 ballot because she didn’t have enough valid voter signatures. In Chicago, candidates for mayor must collect at least 12,500 valid signatures to appear on the ballot.
Brown fell 949 signatures short, according to Elections Board Spokesman Jim Allen. The validity of her signatures had been challenged by two of her contenders, businessman Willie Wilson and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Wilson dropped his challenge earlier this week, but Preckwinkle didn’t.
And at a Friday night hearing, attorneys for Brown didn’t show up with any signed affidavits to prove her contested signatures were valid, Allen said. Instead, they asked for an extension, which the officer refused.
Brown isn’t officially off the ballot until the board ratifies the hearing officer’s decision at its next meeting, which could happen Tuesday. But in practice, it’s rare that the board goes against an officer’s recommendation, Allen said.
Representatives for Brown’s mayoral campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Brown reported having just about $1,000 in her campaign warchest at the end of the last quarter, according to state records.
Brown, whose office oversees the byzantine court filing system in Cook County, has been under federal investigation into alleged bribery and hiring practices in her office. She has not been charged with any wrongdoing, and has said the allegations about her office are false.