Voting, it does a democracy good! In theory. In practice, Chi-town plebes aren’t rockin’ the vote much. Maybe it’s because we reside in one of the most – no make that the most corrupt city in the nation, according to a recent study- and we figure, ‘Why bother?’
Or perhaps, as Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich points out, “The Thrill is Gone.” In a recent column, Schmich noted that only 1.2 million of the 1.7 million Chicagoans eligible to register to vote in the 2012 primary election had done so.
Rather than bypass covering the election entirely, we’ve decided to stop whining and compile some information on the upcoming election, ranging from who’s on the ballot [and who's not- yes, we're referring to Derrick Smith, just arrested for taking $7,000 bribe and is thus out of the running for retaining his 10th District State Rep. seat], whom or what entities they enjoy endorsements from, and where you can go to exercise your right to vote next Tuesday, March 20th, 2012. For our part, we’re deferring to the phrase: “May the best man [or woman] win.”
Chicago-Pipeline’s coverage area encompasses the 1st and 32nd Wards. Not sure of which ward you reside in? Visit the city’s website to find out your ward and alderman. 1st Ward residents (Ald. ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno) have 48 places to vote. 32nd Ward residents (Ald. Scott Waguespack) have 52 places to vote. Click HERE to visit the Board of Election Commissioner’s website to type in your address and find the polling place nearest to where you live.
In the upcoming primary, Chicago voters will cast ballots to elect Ward Committeemen for their political parties. A ward committeeman or committeewoman, per Wikipedia, is an unpaid volunteer tasked with “responsibilities that include voter registration, community forums, election materials, and election operations. In addition, the committeemen are responsible for producing smooth political processes during the elections in their wards, which includes attempting to produce high voter turnout.” (Photo #1: Incumbent 1st Ward Committeeman Jesse Ruben Juarez smiles for Phlash’s camera, photo by Philin Phlash).
About two-thirds of Chicago’s 50 aldermen or alderwoman also serve as their ward’s committeeman. In the Pipeline’s coverage area, there is a hotly contested three-way-race for 1st Ward Committeemen starring one time allies 1st Ward Alderman ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno and incumbent committeeman Jesse Ruben Juarez, the latter of whom made no bones about wanting the former’s current job back when Manny Flores abruptly left his 1st ward aldermanic post mid -term to chair the ICC, leaving Mayor Daley to appoint Moreno in the summer of 2010. The following February, Moreno won 74% of the vote in the mayoral and aldermanic election on Feb. 22, 2012. Juarez did not throw his hat in the running for alderman during that election. (Photo #1: Ald. ‘Proco’ Joe Moreno (2nd from right), Feb. 22, 2011 at V-Live Election Night Party, photo by Philin Phlash).
Back in January, Time Out’s Ted McClelland pretty much summed things up when he compared Ald. Moreno and Juarez in a piece titled “The hipster alderman vs. the machine committeeman.” Moreno recently captured some rare bad press after putting privately-owned trash receptacles on the streets which lacked the proper permits. Moreno was recently endorsed by Howard Dean.
As these two candidates duke it out for the unpaid post, a third contender, Anne Shaw, an East Village attorney who made a name for herself through her efforts to prevent the closure of the 13th District Police Station at 937 N. Wood, entered the scene. Read all about Shaw in this Our Urban Times post.
In the 32nd Ward Committeeman race, incumbent John Fritchey announced last month that he would be withdrawing from the race, citing concerns over the newly proposed ward boundaries, per this Feb. 14, 2012 piece on Our Urban Times. Fritchey’s decision left 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack, a progressive democrat, running uncontested. On the opposite ticket, incumbent 32nd Ward Republican Committeeman John Curry is running to retain his seat.
In addition to voting for committeemen, voters also will nominate candidates to represent their parties in the November elections for the following:
- President of the United States
- Representative in Congress (all districts)- Read the Tribune’s endorsements HERE.
- State Senator (all districts)
- State Representative (all districts)-
- Cook County Circuit Court Clerk
- Cook County Recorder of Deeds
- Cook County State’s Attorney
- Cook County Board of Review (Tax Appeals) (all districts)
- Judges for the Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Appellate Court and Cook County Circuit Court
- Commissioners (three) to the Water Reclamation District for Greater Chicago
Nick Przybyciel attended a BCO-Sponsored ‘Meet the Candidates’ Forum last month, so check out his post, “Voters, Meet Your Bottom Ballot Candidates” to learn more about Ricardo Lugo, (6th judicial subcircuit judge candidate), Kimberly D Lewis, (7th judicial subcircuit judge candidate), Mable Taylor, (7th judicial subcircuit judge), Steve Demitro (Cook County circuit judge candidate), Michael Forte (Cook County circuit judge candidate), Terrence M. Jordan, (Cook County circuit judge candidate), John J. Curry, (32nd Ward Republican committeeman candidate)
Got a comment or information to add to this story? Please let me know.
Update 3/16: Per Mark V. Ferrante, “You can read about all of the judicial candidates at the Chicago Bar Association’s website: http://www.chicagobar.org The Chicago Bar Association conducts a thorough investigation of each candidate who submits to be judicially evaluated.”