Congressman Danny K. Davis and 29th Ward aldermanic candidate CB Johnson held a press conference Sunday morning urging the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to declare a runoff in the 29th Ward.
Incumbent Ald. Chris Taliaferro’s vote total in the Feb. 28th election fell below the required 50.1% over the weekend, as write-in ballots and more mail-in ballots were tallied. Taliaferro is at 49.76% with 4,868 votes, while Johnson is trailing at 39.83% with 3,896 votes, according to unofficial results released Sunday by the election board.
As of Saturday, election officials said there were 634 outstanding mail-in vote ballots in the 29th Ward; six write-in votes for Walter Adamczyk and 106 write-in votes for Lisa Ann Brown-Newman also have been counted, helping to bring Taliaferro under the 50.1% vote needed to win outright.
“We are 14 days into a runoff, and we have not had any kind of information, so we don’t know which way to go,” said Johnson, as he stood outside of the city election office at 69 W. Washington St., Congressman Davis at his side.
“We are urging the board to hurry up and give us a clear answer, so that the voters can know that they have the opportunity to vote again,” Davis said.
Ald. Taliaferro, who has not declared victory, could not be reached for comment Sunday.
Davis urged the election board to give the 29th Ward “special priority,” so residents and candidates can prepare for the April 4th runoff.
Max Bever, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, confirmed Sunday that official results will not be declared until Wednesday.
“Voters are calling me every day. They are very concerned what’s going on, what’s the process, what’s happening, and I can’t tell them because I don’t know,” said Johnson, a longtime community organizer who’s worked with the nonprofit Campaign For a Drug Free Westside the last 30 years.
Davis said changes in polling places, precinct changes and limited options for those needing ADA-accessible polling places are reasons why there was low voter turnout – about 30% – in the 29th Ward.
Johnson said if he were elected alderman next month, he would fight for a change in election voting to a ranking system to avoid runoffs in the future.
“Democracy in action is when the citizens have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote,” Johnson said. “To vote is your voice. Your voice is your vote.”
Early voting in all 50 wards and at two downtown sites begins March 20. All 50 ward early voting sites and the election board supersite, at 191 N. Clark St., are ADA-compliant and fully accessible to voters with disabilities.
Voters can apply now to vote by mail in the April 4th runoff here: https://www.chicagoelections.gov/en/vote-by-mail-application.html. (Unless a voter is already on the permanent vote by mail roster, they will not automatically receive a new vote by mail ballot for next month’s election.)
Voters who cast their ballot by mail may return it through standard U.S. mail, and it must be postmarked on or before April 4. Voters also can submit their ballot in a secured drop box at any Chicago Early Voting location before and on Election Day.
April 18 is the last day a mail-in ballot (postmarked no later than April 4) may arrive at the election board and be included in the count.