Some of the questions around Evanston’s mayoral election may be answered Monday.
City Clerk Rodney Greene says that’s the tentative date for the city’s Electoral Board to meet and review challenges filed by mayoral candidate Jeff Smith seeking to have the other four candidates for mayor kicked off the ballot.
Since the board has already ruled against efforts by the campaign of another mayoral candidate, Brian Miller, remove some of the same candidates from the ballot, observers doubt that Smith has a big chance of success in front of the board.
But he could continue his challenge by filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court challenging the Electoral Board’s decision.
Even if Smith’s opponents are kicked off the ballot — they could still launch write-in campaigns for mayor.
And a write-in campaign could be successful. In 2005 Alderman Lionel Jean-Baptiste won re-election to his 2nd Ward seat with a write-in campaign after being kicked off the ballot by the Electoral Board on a 2-1 vote for failing to specify the office he was seeking on his nominating petitions.
Meanwhile early voting in the mayoral primary — and in the 5th Ward aldermanic contest where there are also five contenders, but no petition challenges — is scheduled to begin Monday, Feb. 13, at the Civic Center.
Early voting hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, through Monday Feb. 27. The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28.
If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, the race won’t be on the April general election ballot. If not, the top two finishers in the primary will advance to the general election.
Looking ahead to the April election, after a rather quiet race for City Council seats four years ago, with only three of the nine races contested, the city council election is back to a more common pattern with six contested races. There had also been six contested races in 2009 and 2001, with seven contested seats in 2005.
This is also the first time this century that there’s been a contested race for city clerk in Evanston.
The District 65 School Board will also likely inject more interest in the April balloting with an expected decision next week to place a school tax hike referendum on the ballot.
Update: 2:05 p.m.: The city’s Law Department now has confirmed that the Electoral Board meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday in Room 2404 at the Civic Center.