When I moved to Chicago in 1989, my mother said to me, “You’re so lucky. Chicago has the best politics.”
I think about that comment a lot, because I certainly didn’t move to this city for the politics. I craved the city’s energy and what it had to offer a young person starting out. Still, I’ve tried to keep abreast of what’s happening at City Hall.
Yesterday Chicagoans elected their mayor, Richard M. Daley, for the sixth time. After months of political reporting that focused on corruption and scandal within his administration, Daley took all 50 wards easily. If he finishes his term, he will be the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history. That’s quite an achievement.
And yet, voter turnout was an abysmal 32%.
On my ballot there were four votes to cast—for mayor, city clerk, alderman, and city treasurer (unopposed). It took more time to walk down the street to my polling place than it did for me to vote.
Sixty-eight percent of the registered voters in this city couldn’t (or wouldn’t) find that time.
So if you’re listening, Mom, let me ask you. Am I really so lucky?