If you’re thinking about running for alderman, it’s time to get organized. The election will be held on February 26, 2019.
You’ll need a total of 473 valid signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot. You can begin acquiring those signatures on August 28, 2018.
Notarized nominating petitions are due at the Chicago Board of Elections the week of November 19-26, 2018.
You’ll want to get copies of nominating petitions filed by the other candidates so you can begin to file objections to their petitions. It’s an interesting process, though more complicated than it needs to be, and you’ll need a team of sharp-eyed campaign workers to help you spot things like multiple signatures written in the same hand, or signatures and addresses written in different hands, or signatures using addresses of vacant lots and abandoned buildings. You can object to illegible signatures and also petitions without circulator signatures or with invalid notarizations.
The last day to file objections to petitions is December 3, 2018.
You’ll need a lawyer to help you defend yourself should your petitions be challenged. That lawyer will attend a session at CBOE with you where CBOE employees will rule on the validity of the signatures in question. Should challenges remain after this session, you will be required to obtain a signed and notarized affidavit from each person whose signature is challenged; the sworn affidavit affirms that the signature is valid. There isn’t a lot of time to get this accomplished because the candidate lists must be finalized and ballots printed in January 2019. You will need to organize and train teams of volunteers to get those affidavits.
Don’t be surprised or intimidated if another candidate files a thousand or more signatures. This is a tactic used by experienced politicians to frighten neophytes. Make your challenges anyway.
In the meantime, you’ll need to be raising lots of money. Former Alderman Dick Simpson notes in his campaign handbook that a candidate for alderman should have at least $250,000 in the bank. This is important if you are seeking endorsements, since established politicians will not support a candidate without enough money already banked to win the election. The press, too, is not inclined to cover candidates who lack money for publicity.
Ald. Silverstein has already raised more than $93,000 for the race.
At this writing there are no declared candidates in the 50th Ward. But if you’re thinking about running for alderman, now is the time to start recruiting and training petition circulators, volunteers, and paid campaign staff.
Go to the CBOE website for a helpful guide that goes into great detail about what to do and how to do it.