CHICAGO (WLS) —
It’s the last day for early voting before Tuesday’s mayoral election in Chicago.
By the end of Monday, a little over 125,000 people have already cast their ballot. That’s ahead of the 2015 and 2011 totals.
The number of people running to replace Rahm Emanuel is unprecedented: 14 candidates are on the ballot.
The lines were fast moving and it didn’t take long to vote. Many early voters said that the race for mayor drove them to the polls. Voters will also decide contests for City Clerk, City Treasurer and the Alderman in each of the city’s 50 Wards.
A winner will be declared if a candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes. But if that does not happen in the crowded race for mayor, there will be a run-off election on April 2 between the first and second place finishers.
Meanwhile, Chicago Elections officials are addressing a big concern. Around 63,000 people applied to vote by mail and only 25,000 ballots have been returned with time running out.
Chicago elections officials think some voters may be undecided for mayor and might be waiting until a possible runoff to cast a ballot. They are urging people not to sit this out.
“People cannot wait until the runoff on April 2nd. You have to make your voices heard and express who will be the top two candidates in any one of these elections. It’s just as important as the April 2nd runoff. You don’t want to be one of the people who wakes up on Wednesday morning and says, ‘I cannot believe candidate X is the first or second one on the ballot,'” said Chicago Board of Elections Commissioner Chair Marisel Hernandez.
If you are one of those voters who has a vote by mail ballot, you are being urged to vote in person Monday or on Election Day to be sure that your vote counts.
WATCH: Mayoral candidates drum up support on election eve
With just over 24 hours left in this race, the candidates were leaving nothing to chance by trying to sway last-minute voters and make sure their own supporters got to the polls.
Susana Mendoza scored a last-minute endorsement from the United Auto Workers on Monday.
“With 14 candidates, every vote is literally going to help to make the difference,” Mendoza said.
Toni Preckwinkle was working the phones at her campaign headquarters, along with many volunteers.
“I’m very optimistic about Tuesday and the message that we’ve been delivering about the importance of strengthening our neighborhood schools, investing in our neighborhoods,” Preckwinkle said.
Commuters were one area where Lori Lightfoot trained her election eve efforts.
“I’m hearing a lot of encouragement, people all over the city really want to change and they’re waking up to the reality that that it’s actually within reach,” Lightfoot said.
Paul Vallas hit a food court trying to encourage voters to put him on their menu for mayor.
“Well the message is, we need someone who can run the city and I can, someone who can straighten out our finances, address our pension issues and our property taxes and I can,” Vallas said.
Gery Chico greeted voters at an early polling station and says taxes are a big concern this election.
“I mean people are still wanting to talk about the issues which is great and now it’s a matter of getting your voters out,” Chico said.
Bill Daley said taxes and crime are the key issues that will decide this race.
“I feel real good,” Daley said. “We’ve had a good campaign, positive, talked about the issues.”
Willie Wilson and Paul Vallas set aside politics to catch a Bulls game together.
Former top cop Garry McCarthy made an interesting prediction.
“I think it’s gonna be pretty wild, and I don’t think we’re gonna know tomorrow who the top two are going to be,” he said.
You can count on Eyewitness News for live on-air updates throughout the night, as well as online and on our news app. We’ll have comprehensive Election Night coverage on Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
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