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The [Monday] Papers

By Steve Rhodes / Posted on November 19, 2018

"Chicago is in for ballot bedlam starting on Monday, when an anticipated 16 candidates for mayor will begin submitting the required nominating petitions to qualify for the Feb. 26 city election," the Tribune reports.

"The arcane process, in which each hopeful turns in thousands of voter signatures, will kick off a month-long period of legal wrangling, with mayoral contenders challenging one another's petitions in a series of aggressive attempts to narrow the large field.

"To appear on the ballot, each candidate is required by law to submit 12,500 signatures from registered Chicago voters. The rule of thumb, however, is for a campaign to collect three times that number because challengers can use charges of forgery, fraud and more minor technicalities to invalidate signatures and knock opponents out of the race."

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Why is that the rule of thumb?

"The reason it takes three times as many signatures is because voter registration rates in the city are about 50 percent," said Mike Kasper, a longtime election lawyer who has worked on behalf of House Speaker Michael Madigan, Emanuel and other top Democrats. "So, if you're standing on the street corner - assuming all the people you see live in the city - you have to take half right off the top, because they're not registered."

When "only" nine candidates were running for mayor last May, the Reader's Ben Joravsky calculated that "they're going to be looking to gather up to 300,000 nominating-petition signatures between them. That's a third of the registered voters in Chicago."

Now we have twice as many candidates seeking signatures from two-thirds of Chicago's registered voters. Good luck.

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Chicago's way of limiting ballot access is unique.

"[A]s recently as 1995, it took only about 3,000 signatures to get on the mayoral ballot, with the exact number based on turnout in the previous election," Joravsky noted in a 2014 column.

Election officials raised the number to 25,000 after legislators passed a law making elections for mayor (and alderman) nonpartisan.

"In 2002 attorney Frank Avila filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the signature requirement on behalf of several fringe mayoral candidates. Partly because they knew they looked so bad, legislators then halved the requirement to 12,500, calling it reform . . .

Inquiring minds will want to know how our signature requirement compares to other cities' - as if the foolishness of others somehow justifies our own.

Well, New York City requires 3,750. Los Angeles requires 500 along with a $300 filing fee, or 1,000 signatures with no fee. Chicago doesn't charge a filing fee, but neither does Detroit, and it requires only 500 signatures.

Joravsky also pointed out in a 2010 column that "Only 5,000 signatures are needed to run in the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial primaries, whose winners are automatically on the ballot in the general election. (To get on the ballot in the general election without winning a primary requires 25,000 signatures.) Illinois has four times as many residents as Chicago."

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Back to the Trib:

"The first petition signed is the only one that counts under the law, but when voters sign petitions, they aren't required to date them. The only date that appears is when a petition passer gets the sheets notarized, which doesn't reflect the exact date someone signed."

I did not know that. Ugh.

[Former Rahm Emanuel political director Thomas] Bowen suggested this is a gray area of the law that could be tested, and the campaigns that started late after Emanuel got out of the race could be more likely to have signatures from voters who already signed for other candidates.

"Citywide campaigns have the resources to not only file challenges but to make legal arguments, and it has been the case over decades here that a law gets refined a little bit more by the court when major suits are brought up," Bowen said. "I wouldn't be surprised if Bill Daley or Gery Chico or Toni Preckwinkle or Susana Mendoza got themselves in a situation where they have to explore the courts as a method to stay on the ballot."

When you combine that with the inevitable problems lesser-known and fringe candidates will face with their petitions, it'll be a wonder any candidate gets on the ballot!

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

God, Ranked
A rare instance when we take the old white guy over the black man and the black woman.

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SportsMonday: Cody Parkey Is Back!
There was no wind to mess with Parkey's head and his kicks went where he kicked them.

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ChicagoReddit

Alone on Thanksgiving? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"William Sidney Mount's scenes of everyday life provide insight into the complex social and racial divisions of antebellum America. The central figure in this tavern is a homeless wanderer who literally dances along a line in the floorboards and, as a result, walks a symbolic line between class and race. The color of his skin unites him with the more prosperous men who urge on his drunken revelry, but his poverty makes him an outcast like the African-American man in the shadows, who smiles and looks on but is not an integral part of the group."

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BeachBook

The Land That Failed To Fail.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Eureka.

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MUSIC - Spring Awakening Wake-Up Call!
TV - Exclusive! Rahm's New TV Gig.
POLITICS - The Political Odds UPDATED.
SPORTS - Cody Parkey Is Back!

BOOKS - Stan Lee, Flawed Hero.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - God, Ranked.


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