Evanston voters have overwhelmingly decided to retain the city’s nonpartisan election model for choosing city officials.

With 34 of 50 precincts counted at 9:07 p.m., the votes on the referendum were 86 percent yes to 14 percent no.

Update 7 a.m. 3/18/20: And, with unofficial returns in from all 50 precents, the margin remained the same — with 86 percent of Evanston voters favoring nonpartisan elections for local offices.

Aldermen decided to place the referendum on the ballot after it was learned that while the city had been conducting its elections in a nonpartisan fashion for decades, a referendum authorizing that practice had apparently never been placed on the ballot before.

Under state law cities that haven’t opted by referendum for the nonpartisan approach are supposed to conduct their elections using political party labels. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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