Although a citywide advisory referendum asking Chicagoans whether they support switching to an elected school board has been crowded off the ballot for a third time, education activists have a backup plan.
Parents, teachers and community groups are banding together to place a separate, non-binding question about an elected Chicago Board of Education on the February municipal ballot in each of the city's 50 wards. The coalition, which is unhappy with the policies endorsed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's handpicked school board, officially launched their ward-level referendum drive on Monday.
"While the mayor makes his moves by squashing democracy and disrespecting parents, we will make our moves by knocking on doors and by giving the people [the ability] to do the one thing the mayor's afraid of. We are going to give people the chance to vote for an elected school board," Action Now's Executive Director Katelyn Johnson said at the referendum drive's kick off, held in front of Ronald E. McNair Elementary School in the city's Austin neighborhood. (Back in April, the Chicago Board of Education voted to "turnaround" McNair, which involves firing and replacing all school staffers, to improve its academic performance.)
The changing of a ward boundary earlier this year caused confusion at a Wicker Park polling station on Tuesday.
switch primarily affected registered voters that were not informed of
the boundary change, but came to the same polling station to vote as they did in
the last election. Newly-registered voters had the correct polling
station address mailed to them in their voter guides from the Chicago
Board of Elections.
“We need to call the election board,” one poll
worker at the 1649 W. LeMoyne Street station exclaimed after showing yet
another voter the ward his residence now fell in.
coming back here because this is where they always voted. This was poor
communication on the part of the election board,” Ken Jaszczar, an
election official at the LeMoyne station, told Progress Illinois. “We
have been very busy all day. I haven’t had time to eat dinner.”
The Chicago City Council’s remap of its 50 wards this year means new
polling places for Chicago residents looking to cast their ballots tomorrow.
is going to be an issue for some of our voters who don’t check their
polling places,” acknowledged Langdon Neal, chairman for the Chicago
Board of Election at a press conference this morning. “If you do not
follow the instructions and you don’t check your polling place, you
Neal said that Chicago voters uncertain about where
to vote tomorrow can call the Chicago Board of Elections at 312-269-7870
and “we can tell you where to go.”
Windy City voters may also
text message their street address to 312-361-8846 to get their polling
place. For example, the common address number then street format of 1234
W. 56th St. would produce a reply text with a polling place.
gave these nitty-gritty logistics at a press conference intended to
promote the success of early voting in Chicago and suburban Cook County.
Neal and Cook County Clerk Orr say the percentage of registered voters who participated in early balloting this year set a new record.
Two weeks after filing for a partial recount, Will Guzzardi might file today a petition in Cook County Circuit Court alleging voter fraud against State Rep. Maria Berrios as a result of their race for 39th District Representative.