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HOW WE MADE THIS GUIDE

We asked candidates questions about issues that young people give a sh*t about. Answers are based on direct responses from candidates’ campaigns, direct quotes, and news media. Candidates who completed the questionnaire are represented with a key and those who did not complete the questionnaire are represented with a broken heart. Candidate issue stances are represented by ‘Yes’ ‘Lean Yes,’ ‘Lean No,’ and ‘No’. Their representation is both based on the completion of the candidate questionnaire and public statements.

Roses are red, violets are blue, we hope this guide is helpful to you (;

Chicago is divided into 50 legislative districts or “wards”. Each district is represented by an alderperson, who is elected by citizens to serve a four-year term.

So basically, an alderperson is elected by you to represent your interests!

Together, 50 aldermen from Chicago’s 50 districts make up the Chicago City Council, which serves as the legislative branch of the government of Chicago.

*Cough cough* this is who votes on your proposed loans, grants, bond issues, land acquisitions and sales, zoning changes, traffic control issues, mayoral appointees, and other financial appropriations!

The treasurer is the city’s banker; they keep track of the city’s finances, managing all cash and investments for the City of Chicago, the four City employee pension funds, and the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

The treasurer’s office also manages a number of programs that promote financial education and small business growth in Chicago’s neighborhoods.

The City Clerk of Chicago is in charge of record-keeping for the city of Chicago and its elections. The position is central to government transparency because the clerk is responsible for keeping and making official records and legislation accessible to city residents.

The newly created Police District Councils establish community oversight of the police. There are 22 police districts. Every four years during municipal elections, three community members will be elected to each of the 22 Police District Councils.

Council members must live in their respective police district and cannot have been a member of the Chicago Police Department, Independent Police Review Authority, Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), or the Police Board for at least three years before they assume office.

Kam Buckner

Illinois State Representative

Since 2019, Kam Buckner has been a State Representative of the 26th district as state representative where he was most recently the House Chair of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Kam Buckner previously worked for Senator Dick Durbin before coming home to Chicago. From 2015-2019, Kam was the Executive Director of the nonprofit World Sport Chicago.

Ja’Mal Green

Community Activist

Ja’Mal Green is a community activist with a history of standing up to big banks and working with Chicago’s youth. Ja’Mal is the youngest candidate in the mayoral race and previously ran in 2019.

Jesús “Chuy” Garcia

Illinois Congressman

Chuy Garcia is Illinois’ 4th Congressional District Congressman and the first Mexican-American elected to Congress from the Midwest. Chuy has served on the Financial Services Committee, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Natural Resources Committee. He previously ran for mayor in 2015.

Roderick Sawyer

6th Ward Alderman

Roderick T. Sawyer is a licensed stockbroker and real estate broker. Since 2011, he has served as alderman of the 6th ward. His father, the Honorable Eugene Sawyer, was elected mayor of Chicago by City Council in 1987.

Brandon Johnson

Cook County Commissioner

Brandon Johnson began his career as a public school teacher on the West Side, becoming an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union. In 2018, Brandon was elected commissioner of the 1st District of Cook County.

Paul Vallas

Former CEO of Chicago Public Schools

Paul Vallas served as Chicago Public Schools CEO under Mayor Richard M. Daley from 1995-2002. He then worked in school districts in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Haiti, Chile, and Bridgeport, Conn. He previously ran for mayor in 2019.

Sophia King

4th Ward Alderwoman

Sophia King became an alderwoman in 2016 and has been a small business owner for over 5 years. Before becoming an alderwoman, she helped to establish Ariel Community Academy and was President of Harriet’s Daughters, a non-profit organization.

Dr. Willie Wilson

Businessman

Willie Wilson is a businessman. He owned 5 McDonald’s locations and sold them to create his medical supply company. He serves as the founder and Chairman of the Board of Omar Medical Supplies, Inc. He ran for president in 2016 and previously ran in the 2015 and 2019 mayoral races.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Current Chicago Mayor

In 2016, Lori was appointed by former mayor Rahm Emanuel as President of the Chicago Police Board & Chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. In 2019, Mayor Lightfoot was became the first LGBTQ+, Black woman to be elected mayor of any major city in the United States.

Will you commit to the creation of a youth-led elections advisory committee to ensure the needs of young people are valued in elections planning?

Will you prioritize passing the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance in your first term?

What is the Bring Chicago Home Ordinance?

Bring Chicago Home is a grassroots movement of Chicagoans committed to creating a dedicated revenue stream to combat homelessness in Chicago.

Will you expand the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance in your first term?

What is the city’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO)?

The ARO creates a set of rules for developers seeking City funding, City-owned land, or zoning changes for a project with ten or more units. The law requires 20% of new builds be set aside as affordable housing.

Will you commit to passing the Peace Book Ordinance?

What is the Peace Book Ordinance?

The Peace Book and Peace Commissions will support the development and implementation of youth-led, non-carceral, and non-policing initiatives for improving community safety and health.

Will you prioritize passing the Treatment Not Trauma Ordinance?

What is Treatment Not Trauma?

The Treatment Not Trauma care model would reopen all of the closed Chicago Department of Public Health mental health centers in support of a city-wide crisis response program that dispatches mental health professionals and an EMT to mental health emergency calls instead of police officers.

Will you prioritize the reopening of the city’s mental health clinics?

Context!!

In 2012, mayor Rahm Emanuel closed six of the city’s 12 mental health clinics, four of them were located on the South Side.

Will you commit to finding proactive alternatives to public safety for our city’s youth without restricting their freedoms through curfews?

Do you support a municipal sidewalk snow and ice removal program?

Will you prioritize the expansion of the Red Line in your first term?

Do you support a protected and connected bike lane network?

Will you commit to electrifying the CTA bus fleet?

Will you prioritize the reliability and frequency of CTA bus and train services?

Do you support the Ride Share Living Wage Ordinance?

Will you commit to fully funding year-round youth employment?

Will you prioritize a plan to reach 100% renewable energy by 2035 in residential and commercial sectors, in line with the recently passed Climate and Equitable Jobs Act?

Will you prioritize the removal of lead service lines?

Will you prioritize the reopening and full funding of the Department of Environment?

Kam Buckner

Taurus

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

Cleo’s

What is your ideal Chicago date?

Dinner at Virtue and Jamila Woods at Thalia Hall

Never have I ever…

liked playing this game.

Ja’Mal Green

Leo

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

Chicago Chicken and Waffle

What is your ideal Chicago date?

Going to the Chicago Brewhouse on the river.

Never have I ever…

stood against the best interests of the people.

Jesús “Chuy” Garcia

Aries

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

Zacotacos

What is your ideal Chicago date?

I enjoy going to Rosa’s to hear live jazz with my beautiful wife of 45 years, Evelyn.

Never have I ever…

voted Republican.

Roderick Sawyer

Aries

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

Fast casual: Ricobene’s

Traditional: Oooh Wee It Is

What is your ideal Chicago date?

Dinner at the Chicago Overgrinder or City Winery

Never have I ever…

wanted to live in the suburbs. I’m a city guy through and through.

Brandon Johnson

Aries

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

MacArthur’s

What is your ideal Chicago date?

An evening at Chicago SummerDance and a walk on the Riverwalk with my loving wife, Stacie.

Never have I ever…

thought that I would ever be in a position to run for mayor of the great city of Chicago.

Paul Vallas

Gemini

What is your favorite Chicago Restaurant?

Greek Islands

What is your ideal Chicago date?

A movie night is my ideal date.

Never have I ever…

been skydiving, and I never will.

Sophia King

Aquarius

They did not complete the questionnaire ):

Dr. Willie Wilson

Gemini

They did not complete the questionnaire ):

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Leo

No fun ): She didn’t answer these questions.

DID YOU KNOW??

In Illinois, you do NOT need to show identification to vote after you have voted the first time, nor should election workers ask you for ID. You can vote on Election Day or early, and in-person or by mail. In addition, you can also request your ballot and election materials in a non-English language!

VOTER REGISTRATION

Same Day Registration is available at all early voting sites and on Election Day. Voters must bring two forms of ID, with at least one that includes your current address.

You can also register to vote online through February 12th.

EARLY VOTING

Beginning January 26th, anyone can vote at the Chicago Board of Elections Supersite at 191 N. Clark. You can also vote in person from February 13th through February 28th at any of the Chicago 50 early voting locations.

Click to see a list of early voting locations.

VOTING ON ELECTION DAY

You can vote in person on Election Day at the precinct/polling location assigned based on your address or at the 50 early voting locations across the city.

HAVE A RECORD?

You have the right to vote in Illinois! You can cast a ballot if you are NOT currently serving time inside a correctional institution or on temporary leave/furlough from prison!

VOTING BY MAIL

Your application to Vote By Mail must be received by 5:00 pm on February 23, 2023. Once you receive your ballot, fill it out and then mail it in, or put it in an official drop-box.

BALLOT DROP BOXES

As of 2020, Illinois allows you to drop your mail-in ballot at a secure drop-box outside of early voting and Election Day polling locations.

TROUBLE AT THE POLLS?!

If you are eligible to vote, you should never be turned away from the polls. For questions or any issues at the polls, the Election Protection hotline provides free non-partisan voting assistance from legal advocates, call 1 (866) OUR-VOTE or 1 (866) 687-8683.

January 25, 2023

Early voting is available at the Loop Supersite (191 N. Clark) and the Chicago Board of Elections Office (69 W. Washington, 6th Floor) beginning Thursday, January 26th.

February 13, 2023

First day for Early Voting in all 50 Wards in Chicago.

February 23, 2023

If you want to vote by mail, you must request your ballot by 5pm.

February 28, 2023

Election Day! If you are returning a vote by mail ballot via mail, your ballot must be postmarked on or before Election Day.

LOVE LETTERS TO CHICAGO <3

Artwork by King Moosa

Check out @chicagovotes voter guide at chicagovotes.com/votecenter. The guide is cute af, includes mayoral candidate questionnaires, and lots more!!

If you would like to pick up a box of voter guides and pass them out, please complete this form! 

Get your election questions answered.

What are my voting rights?
  1. On Election Day, each polling place will be open from 6am to 7pm. Voters in line at the polling place by 7pm must be allowed to vote.
  2. Voters have the right to vote (and wait to vote) without anyone intimidating them. This includes campaigning and electioneering.
  3. All registered voters may request a mail-in ballot. The deadline to request a ballot is November 3, 2022.
  4. In general, voters do not have to provide ID at the polling place. There are three exceptions: a voter using Election Day Registration, a voter changing their voting address at the polling place, or a first-time voter who registered by mail but did not submit proof of identity with the registration application
  5. Election Day, or Same Day, Registration is available at all early voting sites and on Election Day. Voters must bring two forms of ID, with at least one that includes your current address.
  6. Voters who need assistance voting are entitled to have a person of their choice, except for the voter’s employer or union representative, provide bilingual assistance or assist the voter in marking their choices on the ballot.
  7. If you have completed your sentence, you can vote. Only people currently serving a sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections cannot vote.

If you have trouble at the polls, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE.

Can I vote with a felony record?

If you have a felony and have completed your sentence, you can vote. Only people currently serving a sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections cannot vote. This includes people on temporary leave/furlough from jail/prison.

When can I vote?

Early voting is available at the Loop Supersite (191 N. Clark) and the Chicago Board of Elections Office (69 W. Washington, 6th Floor) beginning Thursday, January 26th. You can vote at the Loop Supersite through Election Day, February 28th. You can vote at the Chicago Board of Elections Office through February 27th. Both sites will be open weekdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; Saturdays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Early voting opens up to all 50 wards from February 13th through February 28th. You can catch up on all-things early voting at chicagoelections.gov.

On election day, February 28th, you can vote at the Loop Supersite, any early voting location, or your precinct/polling location assigned based on your address.

Can I vote by mail?

All Illinois voters have the option to vote by mail, receiving a ballot in the mail and either mailing it back or bringing it to a ballot dropbox.

The deadline to apply to Vote By Mail is 5:00 pm on February 23, 2023. You can apply to vote by mail on the Chicago Board of Elections website. Once you receive your ballot, fill it out and then mail it in, or put it in an official drop- box.

How can I support elections?

Election Day is February 28th, and election judges and coordinators are the keys to making polling places run smoothly. Serve as an election judge and get paid $230 or serve as an election coordinator and get paid $450.

Ready to commit? Apply right here.

What am I going to be voting on?

Chicago voters will be casting ballots on the following offices:

Mayor

City Clerk

City Treasurer

Alderpeople

Police District Councils

Who is Chicago Votes?

Chicago Votes is a non-partisan, non-profit organization building a more inclusive democracy by putting power in the hands of young Chicagoans. We’re engaging a new generation of leaders, changing laws to make Chicago and Illinois a better place to be young, and in the process, we’re making democracy FUN.