Chicago mayoral race could get messy as candidates attempt to kick one another off ballot

Now that the deadline has passed for candidates to file to run for mayor or City Council, it is "challenge season" in Chicago.

"And I think there will be some challenges. I think that each candidate makes a decision to challenge someone or not," said Alderman Harry Osterman.

The eleven candidates for mayor have until next Monday to ask the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to kick opponents off the ballot.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot's campaign said Tuesday she's examining the nominating petitions filed by each of her nine opponents and may move to knock one or more of them off the ballot.

The second ward's Brian Hopkins says 30 anti-Lightfoot volunteers have found problems with her petitions and may do the same to her. It could become messy.


"But I’m hoping we can get past this phase so we can really get our message – continue to get our message out to the city," said Alderwoman Sophia King.

King personally collected some of the 37,000 voter signatures she says she filed. Lightfoot and other candidates paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to collect signatures — one sign of how unhappy many Chicago voters are.

"It's very difficult. It's very difficult. Some folks don't want to sign. And I understand that," said Alderman Ariel Reboyras.

While mayoral candidates need only 12,500 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot, paying people to collect them may incentivize fraud.

The Board of Election Commissioners could invalidate signatures:

  • If a petition circulator is not a registered voter;
  • If a voter signed more than one petition, or
  • If signatures are forged.

A spokeswoman said Mayor Lightfoot wrote, "we are absolutely confident in the integrity of our signatures....every candidate must meet the same high standard of the democratic process."

Unless the ballot fight delays it, early voting begins Jan. 19th. We count the votes Feb. 28.

Editor's Note: The graphic in the video above omits Johnny Logalbo as a candidate for Chicago mayor.