How much does it really cost to get on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago? Today’s Juice, by Greg Hinz
As Chicagoans begin to focus on the upcoming mayoral race, one of the better questions to ask (beyond who’s running, that is) is how much it’s going to cost to get on the ballot.
Getting the minimum 12,500 valid signatures required for mayoral candidates (aldermanic requirements are only 473 valid signatures) has become considerably harder after COVID-19. People just don’t come to their doors like they used to and when they do, many are in a grumpy mood.
Experienced precinct workers are in short supply. And, to be safe and fend off petition challenges, a candidate really needs two or three times that minimum amount so campaigns increasingly are turning to paid signature gatherers rather than volunteers.
Of course, the petition gatherers know that, too, so, in the American way, the cost of their services has also gone up.
One rumor out there is that Lori Lightfoot’s campaign has had to double its payments to these workers, shelling out as much as $9 per valid signature. Lightfoot’s campaign denies paying that much but confirms that, after surveying the market, it upped its figure from $4 per valid signature to $6. One top Democratic strategist says they know of campaigns that have paid as much as $16 a signature.
All of that may partially explain why retiring Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, still hasn’t announced whether or not he’s running for mayor even though he’s been circulating nominating petitions for weeks.
Though some say Tunney has hit some bumps, others say he’s privately getting lots of help from North Side aldermanic colleagues and is in good shape. As has been the situation for a while, Tunney is said to be leaning in favor of running, but until he announces, well, he hasn’t announced.
For what it’s worth, the deadline for filing those petitions for the ballot is Nov. 28.
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October 25, 2022 at 07:34AM