On Tuesday 51.42 percent of voters in the 25th Ward cast their ballot to reelect alderman Danny Solis over his five opponents. But Solis may still be facing a runoff.
There was a sixth candidate in the race: former 25th Ward alderman Ambrosio Medrano, who was convicted of taking bribes while in office. On February 23, just four days before the election, the Illinois Supreme Court knocked Medrano off the ballot, ruling that he was subject to a state law that prohibits felons from running for office. The court ordered the board of elections not to count any votes cast for Medrano.
But that ruling came after several hundred 25th Ward voters had already cast early or absentee ballots. What about the people who voted for Medrano before the supreme court's ruling?
According to the election board, 6,845 votes were cast in the 25th Ward aldermanic election. If you add just 200 early or absentee votes for Medrano absentee or early-election ballots, Solis falls below the 50 percent threshold and would have to face the second-place finisher, Cuahutemoc Morfin, in the April 17 runoff election.
Morfin's lawyer, Rich Means, says he's filed a freedom of information request with the board of election commissioners to find out just how many such votes were filed for Medrano. If the board refuses to turn over the results, he says, he'll appeal to the circuit court. The matter might wind up back before the Illinois Supreme Court.
"I think the numbers are there to force a runoff, because Ambrosio was a very popular candidate," says Morfin, who drew 22.4 percent of the vote. "I don't know how they can justify disenfranchising people who voted. I predict a runoff and we will win."