By Mary Keister
The Illinois Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision late Thursday afternoon that Rahm Emanuel, the current frontrunner in Chicago’s mayoral campaign, is eligible to be listed on the ballot as a candidate for mayor.
The decision overturned Monday’s ruling by an appeals court that stated Emanuel was not able to sufficiently prove residency in Chicago for at least one year prior to the election and that he was ineligible to run for mayor.
Emanuel’s residency has been questioned both formally and informally since the start of his campaign. On Dec. 23, following many hours of testimony concerning boxes Emanuel left in his Chicago home’s basement while he lived in Washington, D.C. last year, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners determined that Emanuel was eligible to be listed on the ballot as a mayoral candidate.
Emanuel resigned from his post as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff in early October last year to run for mayor.
Early voting for the Feb. 22 general election begins Monday. Election officials had been ordered to not print any ballots without Emanuel’s name on them until the Illinois Supreme Court decided if Emanuel is eligible to run. According to the Washington Post, after 300,000 ballots without Emanuel’s name were printed immediately following the appellate court’s decision Monday, the printers were called and ordered to stop the presses.
The other mayoral candidates include Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, Carol Moseley Braun, Patricia Van Pelt Watkins, and William “Dock” Walls III.
According to a Chicago Tribune/WGN poll released last weekend, Emanuel had the support of 44 percent of those surveyed. Braun was the second favorite, with 21 percent support.
If no candidate is able to win at least 50 percent of the vote in the Feb. 22 general election, a run-off election will be held April 5.