A voter’s guide for mayor and City Council elections on April 4 – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

With Chicago’s mayoral race winnowed to two candidates — Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas — and only a dozen or so aldermanic races headed to runoffs, Chicagoans will head to the polls one more time, on April 4, to settle who will take over the fifth floor at City Hall as well as the direction of the City Council for the next four years.

Nearly half of Chicago voters didn’t choose Johnson or Vallas in the Feb. 28 election, meaning the weeks leading up to the runoff will be an all-out sprint to get the voter support they need to win. Campaign limits have been lifted, meaning Chicagoans could see more ads funded by Super PACs, some of whom have dark money donors.

While the February elections were largely good news for incumbent aldermen, runoffs are all-but guaranteed in a dozen races — the 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th, 11th, 21st, 24th, 30th, 36th, 43rd, 46th, and 48th wards — and possible in the 1st, 29th and 45th.

Most of the wards featured open races where the incumbent was stepping down or recently retired. See more here. And in the other three, it is too close to call because mail-in ballots that keep coming in have incumbents hovering right at the 50%+1 mark they need to avoid the runoff.

Among the results that are firmly decided: Chicago voters elected 62 people on Feb. 28 to serve on the city’s first civilian police oversight councils, most of whom were supported by the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Another eight winners were endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police.

  • March 6: the first day to apply to vote by mail online for the April 4 runoff election.
  • March 17: the earliest date when mail-in ballots are expected to be mailed to voters.
  • March 30: the last day for the board to review new vote-by-mail applications.
  • April 4: the runoff election and the deadline for a mail-in ballot to be postmarked in order for it to be counted.
  • April 18: the last day that a mail-in ballot (postmarked by April 4) may arrive at the election board to be included in the count.

Chicago voters must:

  • be a U.S. citizen
  • born on or before April 4, 2005
  • live in the same precinct at least 30 days before the election
  • not claim the right to vote elsewhere
  • not be in prison or serving time for a conviction
  • Online: The deadline to register using an Illinois driver’s license or state identification card is 11:59 p.m. March 19.
  • At an early voting site or on April 4: Show two acceptable forms of identification — at least one must include a current address.
  • By mail: Download, fill out then mail this form by March 7.

Yes, unless you signed up for the Permanent Vote By Mail Roster and chose municipal elections. Those on the permanent VBM roster will get an automatic VBM sent to their preferred address. If not, any voter in Chicago can request until March 30 another vote-by-mail ballot for the runoff. The online application is open now: https://www.chicagoelections.gov/en/vote-by-mail-application.html

When voters receive their VBM ballot, they may return it through standard U.S. mail and it must be postmarked on or before Election Day in order to be counted. Voters may also return their “Ballot Return Envelope” to one of the secured drop boxes at any Chicago Early Voting location before or on Election Day.

It’s important to know that Election Day overlaps with Spring Break for many families. For Chicago Public Schools families, 2023 break begins April 3 and ends April 7. Max Bever, a spokesman with the Chicago Board of Elections, said, individuals can request to have their ballot mailed out of town or out of state, but it’s smart to request it as soon as possible. “VBM ballots will start being mailed as soon as the ballot is finalized, approx. March 17 or March 18,” he said.

All early voting sites from the last round of elections will stay the same. You can vote at any early vote location in all 50 wards and at the Loop Super Site starting on Monday, March 20.

If you preferred voting in-person at your precinct location on Election Day, it’s very likely — but not certain — your polling place will remain the same. “It looks like all the same precinct polling places for now, though I imagine we will have some cancellations over the next couple of weeks. All polling place changes that happen will be communicated to voters in a letter,” Bever said.

Yes and no, Bever said. “It’s become clear that we have a very similar number of total voters as we did in 2019 and 2015 — Chicago voters just chose to early vote but especially Vote By Mail instead of showing up on Election Day,” Bever said. “I think you can see that precedent shows that we will likely see a similar number of overall total voters, rather than any explosive increase or decrease in ballots cast.”

Here’s a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction look at where and when residents may vote in advance of the runoff election on April 4.

Locations and hours of operation are subject to change, so check with your local jurisdiction for latest information.

Type your address into the search box below to find the one closest to you.

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