CHICAGO (CBS) — The polls are open, and Chicago voters are casting their ballots in the most crowded mayor’s race in modern history, a contest that’s all but certain to end with a runoff election in April.
If no candidate gets a majority of the vote in the race, the top two candidates would face off in a runoff election on April 2.
Fourteen candidates are vying for your votes for mayor, and the latest poll shows no candidate with more than 14 percent support. With three candidates tied for the lead in an independent poll, and three others nipping at their heels, it’s anybody’s guess as to who the two finalists would be in a runoff.
“Chicago has never had an election like this, and we may never see one like it again,” Chicago Board of Election Commissioners chair Marisel Hernandez said. “Part of the reason we have so many candidates this year is that these open mayoral elections, with no incumbent on the ballot, are extremely rare in Chicago. This is only the fourth open mayoral contest in the last century.”
An independent poll this weekend by 270 Strategies showed Lori Lightfoot, Bill Daley, and Toni Preckwinkle tied for the lead with 14 percent. Close behind, Susana Mendoza had 10 percent, and Gery Chico and Willie Wilson both had 9 percent. The third tier includes Jerry Joyce at 8 percent, Paul Vallas at 6 percent, Garry McCarthy at 5 percent, Amara Enyia at 4 percent, Bob Fioretti at 2 percent, Neal Sales-Griffin and LaShawn Ford at 1 percent, and John Kozlar with 0 percent.
With such a close race headed into Election Day, voters might not know who the two frontrunners until days, perhaps weeks, after the polls close, as officials tally absentee ballots that are still coming in.
Voters also will be casting ballots in 50 races for alderman, many of which also might end in runoff elections; as well as the races for city treasurer and city clerk.
Polls opened at 6 a.m., and will close at 7 p.m.
Kara Hanson was among a handful of people lined up to vote when polls opened at a polling place in Lakeview.
“I think it’s incredibly early for people to be engaged in the democratic process. I personally like to come early, just to make sure that I don’t miss anything, and that I’m ahead of the line,” she said. “I think everybody should get out and vote.”
As of Tuesday morning, election officials said turnout has been extremely low. About 125,000 people voted early.