CHICAGO (CBS) — The clock is ticking for candidates running for office in Cook County.

Candidates are required to file nominating petitions beginning Monday and some are getting an early start. CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli has more from the Cook County administration building in the Loop.

The election is still about four months away, but candidates running in county, state and federal elections will begin filing their nominating petitions on Monday.

Monday morning brought with it a line outside the State of Illinois Board of Elections in Springfield. Representatives stood with many boxes in hand. Gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker was there along with Senator Daniel Biss and Chris Kennedy’s running mate Ra Joy. They are all going up against Bruce Rauner.

There were similar lines in Chicago at 69 W. Washington Street. People lined up an hour before doors even opened and several hours before filing officially begins at 9 a.m. Monday. Doors opened at 6 a.m. and candidates and their representatives filed in. But being first in line gives candidates a chance at being first on the ballot in their particular race. And some say having your name appear first on a ballot is an advantage and could add up to more votes.

And first in line was Cook County Commissioner Dennis Deer, who was appointed Second District Commissioner after incumbent Robert Steele died in office back in June. His office had people outside the building for about 20 hours in order to insure he wold get the card with the one on it.

“We get in line really, really early. We believe in fighting for the people of the second county district. We want to be here and be here first, if we can make it, so that we can file our petitions and let the citizens of the second county district know that we are continuing to fight for them and begin this process,” Deer said.

In past years, if you were first in line, you could potentially have your name as first on the ballot. Now, the people that arrive first have their name put into a lottery to have names drawn. The name that is drawn first, will have a chance to be first on the ballot.

Don Harmon was also in line early to hand in his petitions for his Oak Park Committee Post. He has a representative in Springfield handing in the required signatures needed for state senator.

“It’s a once every two years experience when we all get together and turn in our homework,” he said. “It proves we’ve been out visiting with our neighbors, visiting with our constituents and garnering the support we need to be on the ballot.”

Kim DuBuclet is running for the Cook County Water Reclamation District. For her it is all about local control.

“I was very concerned with our federal government,” she said.

The man with the most signatures in Chicago was Jacob Kaplan, who was in line for the Cook County Democratic Party. With him was a box containing 80,000 signatures required in races from board president on down. It is his job to make sure they get filed on time.

The marquee races in the primary include the race for governor where incumbent Bruce Rauner faces challenges from both his left and right flanks. In the Cook County board race, Board President Toni Preckwinkle faces a challenge from Todd Stroger, who she ousted seven years ago. Former Alderman Bob Fiorettis is also running. Plus, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is stepping down after serving as the state’s top lawyer for the past 16 years.

When filing period ends on Dec. 4, people who come at the last hour before closing have a chance to have their names appear last on the ballot.

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