The final ballots are not yet set, but so far there are 238 candidates running for office in Chicago’s municipal elections. That includes 27 candidates for the three citywide offices (mayor, clerk and treasurer) and 211 candidates for the 50 City Council seats.

But a lot could change between now and election day, Feb. 26, 2019. More than half the candidates have to overcome petition challenges, a common tool in Illinois for kicking one’s opponents off the ballot. A petition can be challenged for discrepancies ranging from mis-numbering pages or putting staples in the wrong place to claims of outright fraudulent signatures. Petition hearings will take place throughout the coming weeks, after which the city’s board of elections will certify the final list of candidates.

The race for mayor is the most crowded, with 21 candidates running to replace Rahm Emanuel. But 12 of them have to overcome petition challenges to stay in the race.

Among the races for City Council, the most crowded is the open race for the 20th ward, where indicted Ald. Willie Cochran is not running for re-election. Twenty-one candidates have filed to fill his seat. Nine candidates are running in the open 47th ward race, vacated by Ameya Pawar, who is running for city treasurer.

Forty-four of the city’s 50 aldermen are running for re-election, and four of them are unopposed. The rest of them have challengers (at least for now). You can see the full list of challenges here. The average aldermanic race has four candidates.

Stay tuned for more information on the 2019 elections. Have questions about the candidates or the issues? Tell us here.

And don’t forget to register vote! You can check if you’re already registered here. If you’re not, online registration is open until February 10, 2019. Or you can register in person at your polling place throughout early voting or on election day.

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Jonah is a reporter for The Chicago Reporter. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @jonahshai.

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