The race for the top ballot spot in Chicago's municipal election
Roll out the (red) wagons. Today is the first day for candidates to file their petitions to run in the 2023 municipal election.
What's happening: In a Chicago tradition, candidates are expected to line up outside the Board of Elections this morning with paper petitions in hand and in cart.
Why it matters: Whoever files first is listed first on the ballot, giving those candidates a psychological advantage.
Yes, but: Once the petitions are delivered, candidates can file challenges against other candidates' signatures to try to bounce them off the ballot.
- Chicago mayoral candidates need 12,500 signatures, so most try to double or triple that number to withstand petition challenges that can include checking legibility, city residency and, of course, forgery.
- In 2019, activist Ja'Mal Green was challenged by fellow candidate Willie Wilson. He eventually withdrew from the race citing difficulties paying legal fees, a process highlighted in the remarkable docu-series "City So Real" on Hulu, which followed the 2019 election.
What he's saying: Green tells Axios he's collected 30,000 signatures this year, up from around 19,000 in 2019.
- "It's our turn," Green says. "I learned that it takes a large team of supporters to pull it off, and now we are ready for whatever comes our way. "
The other side: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is running for re-election, is not lining up today. She said last week that she will file on the last possible day.
Between the lines: Candidates who wait until the last minute to file are usually protecting themselves from challenges, but Lightfoot's tactic could have its own psychological purpose.
- Candidates filing on the last day are put into a lottery to be the last name on the ballot — which also stands out.
What's next: Signatures are due by Nov. 28, with challenges due by Dec. 9.
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