Posted on March 01, 2019
Chances are you didn’t vote…
4 Things You Need to Know About Chicago’s Mayoral Race
On Tuesday, February 28, 2019, Chicago held it’s 2019 Municipal Election. 14 candidates ran for mayor, along with hundreds of other candidates for City Clerk, Treasurer, and plenty of Alderman positions. In case you have been living in a bubble, let me break down the importance of this election, basic information about the election, and its historical importance.
1). In Chicago, we hold nonpartisan elections. This rule went into effect in the mid-90’s. Contrary from your standard presidential or gubernatorial election, candidates do not run on behalf of a party. Every candidate is considered “independent” even though we usually know where most of them stand on the issues. Because of this set-up, there are two elections, the primaries and the run-offs. The primary election is held in February and for a candidate to win their respective race, they must receive 50% plus one vote. If none of the candidates meets that threshold, then the top 2 candidates must face each other in a run-off election, which takes place this year on April 2nd.
2). Throughout this past century, this election is the 4th mayoral contest without an incumbent. It is also only the second time that the mayoral election will go to a run-off. The first time was back in 2015 when Mayor Emanuel was forced into a runoff with Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. In previous elections, Richard M. Daley always steamrolled over his opponents in the primary election.
3). Former Prosecutor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board President, Toni Preckwinkle received the most votes in this race. Thus they will be heading to the run-off election in April. This also means that for the first time in Chicago history, a Black woman will be elected Mayor of the City of Chicago.
4). For this election, just over 70,000 Chicagoans under the age of 35 voted in the election, a significant decrease when compared to the 231,000 voters under 35, who voted in the 2018 midterm elections.
So, what happened to all of the voters under 35? It should be noted, that many people chose not to vote in this election and voter turnout was approximately 33%.
Why is that? Were there too many candidates to choose from? Do municipal elections matter? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!