Chicago voters have the opportunity to cast ballots in the second mayoral runoff election in the city’s history on April 2.
This year’s mayoral runoff features former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle. The two advanced from a 14-candidate field—the largest in the city’s history—by winning more votes than the other candidates on Feb. 26.
The first mayoral runoff took place in 2015. Runoffs first became possible in the 1999 election, after a state law changed mayoral elections in Chicago from partisan to nonpartisan. Prior to that, partisan primaries were held ahead of general elections. Now, candidates must receive more than 50 percent of the vote to win in the general election. Otherwise, the top two finishers go to a runoff.
Along with being the city’s second runoff election for mayor, the 2019 race is the fourth open-seat mayoral race in 100 years. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel did not seek re-election. He won his first term in 2011’s open-seat race.
Voters who don’t want to wait until April 2 to cast their ballots can vote early in person or by mail. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners website has early voting locations and hours as well as instructions and deadlines for applying to vote by mail. One may also register to vote through election day.
See Ballotpedia’s coverage of the 2019 mayoral election for information about the candidates and key issues in the race.