It's election season in Chicago!
Register. Make a Plan. Vote.
Chicago’s runoff elections are coming up on April 4. This election is critically important for our environment and our communities.
Each of us has a voice and contributes to the fabric of our communities and our country.
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You have the right to…
- Cast your ballot in a non-disruptive atmosphere free of interference.
- Vote if you are in line by 7:00 PM.
- Vote by provisional ballot if your registration is challenged, or there is no record of your registration.
- Vote at your old polling place if you have moved within 30 days of the election.
- Request Assistance while voting, if needed.
- Bring newspaper endorsements or sample ballots into the voting booth.
- Protect the secrecy of your ballot.
- Review your ballot to ensure it is complete and accurate and correct your vote if there is a mistake or you change your mind.
- Have your ballot counted fairly and impartially.
- Bring your child into the voting booth with you.
- Register to vote on the same day during grace period and early voting.
- Register online to vote.
Thank you to Chicago Votes for assembling this list. Click to view their entire Vote Center and for a more in-depth look at some of the most important races on the ballot.
Get to know your candidates
What's on Your Ballot?
With the Municipal election concluded, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has officially lost her bid for a second term in office. Now, Chicago voters’ are poised to elect either Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson or former CEO of Chicago Public Schools Paul Vallas as mayor. All information was collected and accurate as of March 20, 2023.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson
On the Environment:
You can find Brandon Johnson’s full plan online here.
- Department of Environment | Johnson’s plan would resurrect “and improve” Chicago’s Department of Environment, with a strong Commissioner selected by a committee of environmental stakeholders; the department would prioritize enforcement of environmental regulations, along with community engagement and interagency collaboration.
- Just Transition | Johnson additionally would set his administration up for an equitable transition from fossil fuels; his plan calls for the creation of a Just Transition Fund with the assistance of the Department of Workforce Development.
- Clean Air | Johnson commits to passing a Cumulative Impact Ordinance and considerably slowing the process of approving new permits, especially in already overburdened communities.
- Water for All | Johnson’s top priorities for clean water are lead service line replacement and stormwater infrastructure. Johnson’s plan for lead line replacement would take notes from other cities that have successfully replaced their lead lines and prioritize communities with the most cumulative lead exposure.
Sustainable Housing | Johnson’s plan calls for a massive electrification of buildings, starting with the passage of the Clean and Healthy Buildings Ordinance, which would require electrification of new buildings and set up a just transition for existing buildings.
- Environmental Education | On top of a climate and environmentally focused curriculum, Johnson’s plan additionally includes equitably retrofitting school buildings, fully staffing schools with teachers representative of their communities, and creating a Youth Green Corps Program.
- Public Transit | Johnson’s plan highlights two transportation priorities: electrification and accessibility; he sets a goal to fully electrify the CTA system by 2040, and recommends collaboration with other departments to create equitable development and expansion, especially into the South and West sides.
- Utility Justice | Lastly, Johnson’s plan suggests rethinking the city’s franchise agreement with ComEd. Johnson emphasizes the need for community engagement, and even recommends exploring municipalization.
- Sierra Club
- Sunrise Movement
- Chicago Teacher’s Union
- Better Streets Chicago
- The People’s Lobby
- Equality Illinois
- Service Employees International Union
- State Senator Bernie Sanders (VT)
- Congresswoman Delia Ramirez (3)
- Congressman Danny Davis (2)
- Congressman Chuy Garcia (4)
- Click here to view more.
Read more about Commissioner Johnson on his campaign website here.
Former CPS CEO Paul Vallas
On the Environment
You can find Vallas’ complete Environmental Justice plan here.
- Department of Environment | reinstate a fully-resourced Department of Environment that consolidates existing operations from other departments.
- Water Access | Under Vallas’ plan, the city would prioritize lead service line and PFAS removal, as well as water access, by both ensuring access to water in public spaces and advancing water affordability.
- Land Management | Vallas’ plan recommends the creation of a “citywide environmental advisory council” to create an equitable approach to land use; he additionally advocates for working with nonprofits to further urban forestry efforts and a full reinstatement of the Emerald Ash program.
- Waste Reduction | Vallas’ plan for waste reduction notes the importance of reuse and reduce, with intentions to work with corporate and nonprofit partners to bolster both, but focuses on the city’s low recycling rate. He suggests more thorough inspections and enforcement into recycling as well as the creation of more recycling facilities.
- Clean Air | Vallas’ plan for clean air includes electrifying city fleets, including CTA, by 2040, enforcing and strengthening air pollution policies, enforcing citywide air monitoring and requiring a cumulative impacts assessment for new development.
- Energy Efficiency | Vallas recommends taking full advantage of federal funds to increase funding for energy efficiency projects, including electrification, with a prioritization on the South and West sides
- Enforcement | Lastly, Vallas’ environmental plan creates a new environmental enforcement program, tasked with enforcing environmental regulations.
- Chicago Tribune
- Fraternal Order of Police
- LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois
- Former Secretary of State Jesse White
- Former Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6)
- Former Ald. Tom Tunney (44)
- Ald. Brian Hopkins (2)
- Ald. Anthony Beale (9)
- Ald. Walter Burnett (27)
- Ald. Brendan Reilly (42)
- Click here to view more.
Read more about Paul Vallas on his campaign website here.
Several Aldermanic candidates are also headed into runoffs. To start, ensure you know which ward you’re in by using the City’s “Find your Ward and Alderman” tool here. Now that you’ve confirmed who your alderperson is, you can see below if your ward will have a runoff election.
State Rep. Lamont Robinson is headed into a runoff to replace former Alderperson Sophia King, who recently lost her bid for mayor. You can see how Robinson performed on environmental issues during his time in the General Assembly in IEC’s Environmental Scorecards, starting with his first term in 2019. Notably, Robinson was a chief sponsor for the 2019 Lead Service Line Replacement Act,supported by IEC, which required the state to make a plan to replace the nearly 700,000 lead service lines in Illinois. He willl be facing off against Ald. King’s former chief of staff, Prentice Butler. Butler additionally serves on the board for a number of community and advocacy groups including: South-Siders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL), Hales Franciscan High School and Free Lunch Academy, and the Xi Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
The fifth ward race to replace retired Alderperson Leslie Hairston has additionally resulted in a runoff. In this district, attorney Tina Hone will face off against community organizer Desmon Yancy. Hone is a lifelong Hyde Parker who graduated from the University of Chicago and went on to work with the City and Federal governments working on the Affordable Care Act and No Child Left Behind. Yancy is another longtime resident of the 5th ward, having attended Kenwood Academy. Currently a community organizer with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Yancy is running on a progressive platform, and cites shoreline erosion and saving Promontory Point as environmental priorities.
Another seat left vacant due to the former Alderperson, Roderick Sawyer’s, failed bid for mayor, this runoff pits two 6th ward pastors against one another. Pastor and retired police officer Richard Wooten will go up against Pastor and community organizer William Hall. Pastor Wooten is a lifelong south sider who began his career in the military, later moving into the Chicago Police Department and ultimately retiring to found Gathering Point Universal Ministries, where he serves as Director of Men’s Ministry. Pastor Hall currently serves as Senior Pastor of St. James Community Church, and has additionally worked as a field director with Rev. Jesse James’ Rainbow/PUSH coalition as well as the local child welfare organization UCAN.
Read more about these candidates on their campaign websites. Click here to Visit Pastor Richard Wooten’s website and click here to visit Pastor William Hall’s.
The ward of retired Alderperson Sue Sadlowski Garza was met with another tight race. The frontrunners poised to face off in the runoff here are police officer Peter Chico and labor organizer Ana Guajardo. Aside from his role as an officer, Chico additionally sits on his Local School Council and cites his nonprofit work with United Way as well as with DCFS advocating for child welfare. Ana Guajardo is the founder of the labor organization Centro de Trabajadores Unidos (United Workers’ Center) and has received endorsements from former Ald. Sadlowski Garza, Congressman Chuy Garcia, and a slew of local unions. Both candidates state on their websites that they will resist new toxic developments in the ward.
In the 11th ward, Incumbent Alderperson Nicole Lee, who was appointed to replace indicted former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, is set to face off against challenger Anthony ‘Tony’ Ciaravino. Lee made history as the first Asian American woman to serve on city council, representing pieces of the Bridgeport and Chinatown neighborhoods. Lee cites public safety and economic development as her priorities for the 11th ward. Ciaravino currently works as an instructor and crisis intervention team member for the Chicago Police Department. Like Lee, Ciaravino sites public safety and economic development as his top priorities.
The race to replace outgoing Ald. Howard Brookins has resulted in a runoff between former firefighter Cornell Dantzler and community organizer Ronnie Mosley. Dantzler served as a firefighter for 20 years, after serving time in the military. Aside from his service, Dantzler has also been an advocate within his community; he created a youth mentorship program within CPS called STEPS and additionally co-founded the community organization Community Empowerment Coalition (CEC). Mosley is a long time advocate and organizer, having worked with Gov. Pritzker’s campaign and the Obama Administration through his firm, Hometown Strategy Group. He has endorsements from the Governor, the outgoing alderperson, and the recipient of IEC’s 2020 Community Champion Award, Jacky Grimshaw, among others.
Incumbent Alderperson Monique Scott, appointed to replace her brother former Ald. Michael Scott, is poised to face challenger Creative Scott (no relation) in the runoffs. Prior to taking office Ald. Scott served as a park supervisor with the Chicago Park District, where she worked on a community-building program. She cites affordable housing, decreasing food deserts, economic development and access to local jobs as some of her key goals. Creative Scott is a local business man, and his top priorities include tax incentives, violence prevention, public safety, access to adult education, and economic growth.
Incumbent Alderperson Chris Taliaferro, who had lost his bid for Cook County judge post this past June, will go against C.B. Johnson in a run off. Ald. Taliaferro, a veteran and former Chicago police officer, has served the 29th ward since 2015. C.B. Johnson is a local businessman and CEO of the Campaign for a Drug Free West Side since 1999.
Read more about both candidates on their campaign websites. Click here to visit Chris Taliaferro’s’ campaign page and click here to view CB Johnson’s’.
Another race to fill a seat left by a retiring alderperson, Ald. Reboyras, in the 30th ward, there will be a runoff between two heavily union endorsed candidates, Jessica Gutierrez and Ruth Cruz. Daughter of former Congressman Luis Gutierrez, Jessica Gutierrez is running for a second time in this ward. Gutierrez’ key priorities for the ward include public safety, public education and reproductive rights. Cruz currently works for Roosevelt University, where she is an alum. Like Gutierrez, Cruz also cites education, reproductive rights, and public safety as top priorities. Additionally, Cruz does state her support for re-establishing a Department of Environment and bringing more clean energy into the city.
In the 43rd ward, incumbent Alderperson Timmy Knudsen– appointed to replace retired Ald. Michele Smith– will face off against challenger Brian Comer. Prior to serving on the City Council, Ald. Knudsen worked as an attorney, he counseled small businesses and eventually went on to found a pro-bono practice within his firm, focused on serving LGBT clients. His priorities for the ward include public safety and fiscal stability. Comer is the three-term president of the Sheffield Neighborhood Association. Comer additionally serves as beat facilitator for his local police district, and co-founded the 43rd Ward Alliance, an organization aimed at bringing nearby neighborhood associations together. One key goal of Comer’s campaign is transparency, with Comer positing himself as the independent choice in contrast to the appointed incumbent.
Incumbent Ald. Jim Gardiner is poised to head into a runoff against challenger Megan Mathias. Ald. Gardiner has had an eventful term, to put it lightly. Aside from serving in City Council, Gardiner has additionally served as a firefighter. His opponent is Megan Mathias, a small business owner with an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune. Mathias states that her priorities include: addressing root causes of crime, increasing community policing and reproductive rights. Mathias additionally is highly involved in her Local School Council and serves on the board of several non-profits including YWCA of Metro Chicago and the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law.
In the race to assume outgoing Alderperson James Cappelman, the frontrunners headed to the runoff are political advisor Kim Walz and community organizer Angela Clay. Walz has previously worked for Congressman Mike Quigley, and has received endorsements from US Senator Dick Durbin, Congresspersons Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley, to name a few. Walz additionally cites re-establishing DOE, environmental justice protections and lead service line replacement as environmental Priorities. Clay has been a longtime activist in the 46th ward, which is reflected in her range of endorsements from community and advocacy groups including Sierra Club and Sunrise Movement. Clay names re-establishing DOE, passing a cumulative impact ordinance, lead service line replacement, citywide decarbonization, and increased access to green space within the ward as environmental priorities.
In the 48th ward, a crowded race to replace former Alderperson Harry Osterman, resulted in a runoff between community organizer Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth and real estate developer Joe Dunne. Manaa-Hoppenworth is the co-founder of Indivisible Illinois and a small business owner in the Andersonville community. She additionally lists lead service line replacement, CEJA rollout, and re-establishment of the Department of Environment as environmental priorities on her campaign website. Dunne has worked in real estate development for years, and touts his experience in creating affordable housing. Dunne has received an endorsement from former 48th Ward Ald. Osterman, and commits to supporting the re-establishment of DOE and combatting lakeshore erosion.
Read more about these candidates on their campaign websites. Click here to visit Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth’s website, and click here to visit Joe Dunne’s.
An Environmental Mayor for Chicago
2023 Environmental Mayoral Report
This report outlines key areas of opportunity for the city’s mayor to be a true environmental champion. Ranging from clean energy to transportation to urban conservation, IEC’s Mayoral Report lays out some relatively small and other loftier objectives that the mayor ought to tackle to make Chicago a truly sustainable city.