Chicago mayoral candidates hustle for 12,500 signatures

CHICAGO — If you live or work in Chicago, you may have noticed political campaigns out gathering signatures.

To make the February ballot, each Chicago mayoral contender needs 12,500 valid signatures.

Across the city, candidates are out in full force searching for every potential voter eligible to sign a petition.

“You look at L.A., 1,000 signatures. New York, 3,500. Five thousand to run for governor of Illinois,” candidate Ja’Mal Green said. “But 12,500 to run for mayor. I think it’s steep.”

Marty Castro is collecting signatures for Susana Mendoza. He started gathering them before she entered the mayoral race.

“Once you submit those, there’s a process that takes place at the board of elections where individuals will look at those petitions to determine whether there is a sufficient number,” said Castro, an attorney. “And we don’t know what’s going to happen once we submit them. We’re not focused on that. What we’re focused on right now is just getting signatures so we get her on the ballot.”

Complicating matters: The same person cannot sign a petition for more than one candidate.

The campaigns would like to collect double the amount needed so they can withstand a challenge.

Those nominating petitions are due Nov. 26. The deadline to file objections is five days after that.

Political insiders said Chance the Rapper-backed candidate Amara Enyia’s signatures will be closely scrutinized. But on Friday, her campaign manager said she has double what is needed.

Also Friday, Toni Preckwinkle stopped by Valois to watch a notary verify her signatures.

“Look, what we’re trying to do is put our petition package together and then we’ll figure out where we are,” Preckwinkle said. “I’m very grateful for the volunteers all across the city who’ve worked so hard to put us on the ballot.”

Bill Daley’s team said to expect an announcement about petitions Monday. Earlier this week, Troy LaRavaiere dropped out of the race, citing difficulty getting signatures.