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Photograph: CC/Wikimedia Commons/MacLean Center and ToniPreckwinkle

Chicago will elect its first black female mayor, but not until April

Written by
Marty Johnson

Yesterday's Chicago mayoral election was a day of firsts and almost-worsts. On one hand, Chicago will soon elect its first black female mayor, after Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle compete in a runoff election on April 2. On the other hand, the city nearly set a new record for its worst voter turnout.

According to the Sun-Times, Only 34.1 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, which narrowly beats out the record low that was set in 2007, when 33.08 percent of registered voters showed up to the polls. As of late last night, 521,265 votes, or about 32.95 percent of registered voters, had been counted. Folks who decided to vote from home were the election's saving grace—officials received a record-breaking haul of more than 62,000 mail-in ballots.

Despite the high voter apathy, the election still produced some interesting storylines. The record spread of 14 mayoral candidates was only possible because current Mayor Rahm Emmanuel decided not to seek reelection—it's only the third time in the city's history, and the first time in 72 years, that the city's incumbent mayor has not run. William Daley, a member of the family that has yielded two previous Chicago mayors who was thought to be a frontrunner, received only 14.8 percent of the vote and conceded to Lightfoot and Preckwinkle. Though she gained the endorsement and financial support of Chance the Rapper, mayoral candidate Amara Enyia finished with just 8 percent of the vote. South Side businessman Willie Wilson, who finished with 10.5 percent of the vote (roughly the same percentage of the vote he received when he ran in 2015) has yet to concede, citing the large number of uncounted mail-in ballots.

If you are a part of the 66 percent of Chicagoans who registered to vote but didn't cast a ballot, you'll have a second chance to head to the polls and elect Preckwinkle or Lightfoot on April 2 during the runoff election.

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