Since Chicago’s 20-year incumbent Mayor Daley announced he would not seek re-election in 2011, the Feb 11th mayor election’s volume has been turned on high with speculation of who will run, who Chicago wants to run and how the city will function without the outbursts of the Daley Machine. The buzz has been so great that until recent weeks it drowned out the increasing uncomfortably tight races for senate and governor. In this traditionally blue state, the reds are leading by about 3% in both races. It is no surprise that the races have not been clean and many constituents are fed up with the negative campaign ads and personal jabs. Yet this is an election that not only decides the color of the state but could also affect universal health care, stimulus for the economy and, an issue permanently tattooed on Chicagoan’s minds, taxes.
For those Chicagoans not thrilled at the idea of spending their Tuesdays in line at local churches, libraries and schools across the city, city offered two early voting options. Residents could request an absentee ballot and to mail in before the Election Day. Unfortunately a glitch in the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign’s plan to get voters to send in absentee ballots may have done more harm that good. Check out the Chicagoist story for the full story: http://chicagoist.com/2010/10/28/glitch_on_absentee_ballot_may_disen.php
Chicagoans also had the option of voting early this year and, as evident by the lines at libraries across the city last Saturday, many took advantage of the option. Early voting ended Thursday 30 October 2010. Those who didn’t cast their votes by Thursday will join the masses at the polls on Tuesday 2 November 2010.
The Big Day: 2 November 2010
Rather shockingly The Board of Election Commissioner for the City of Chicago has an easily navigable and widely helpful website for residents http://www.chicagoelections.com/. Registered voters can look up their polling location at the following address: http://www.chicagoelections.com/voterinfo.php. Regrettably the ease stops there for residents not registered to vote. Those who missed the 26 Oct 2010 “grace period” for registering to vote will not be able to vote in the 2 November election.
The Big Races: Senator and Governor
Although not always the most unbiased source of news, The Chicago Tribune has a great Election Center website for voters looking for some last minute updates or background on candidates. http://elections.chicagotribune.com/. The website includes recent polls, past articles and bio of each candidate with helpful information such as political party, current job and campaign website along with some less helpful information such as marital status and number of children.
As of 25 October 2010, Republican candidates led Democratic candidates by 3% in the Senate Race and 4% in the governor race. With a 6 or 7% undecided population in each poll, these races are so close you can see purple.
Not so big Races
Along with the biggies, Illinois residents are voting for state representatives, the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Comptroller. For bios on the candidates and links to their campaign website see the Chicago Tribune Election Center.
In addition to hiring officials, residents will also get to vote if they want the right to fire the big dog aka the Governor. After the Blagojevich scandal, an amendment has been put on the ballot that would give residents the option of recalling the governor via a special election after support from House and Senate. For more information on this amendment see this Examiner article:
Luckily if Chicagoans are disappointed with the results of the 2 November election or if they just miss all the negative pointless political ads, there will be three more politically-charged months ahead for the city. Mark your calendars for the 11 February 2011 Mayoral Election. This one will be a doozy!