One of the fun parts of working as a Chicago election lawyer is the next month or so when objections filed against aldermanic and mayoral candidates are filed and adjudicated. This is the busy season.
The 2011 season is the busiest in a long time because of the huge number of open seats, both citywide and in the City Council.
As an example, in my own 43rd Ward, there are 12 candidates running for the office. 11 of them have been challenged. Only Rafael Vargas avoided a challenge.
Some (many?) of the challenges are meritless. A few of them present fascinating questions of statutory interpretation. Many of them involve lots of time grinding out one signature at a time at the Board of Elections to see if that particular scribble collected on a cold night with a pen that wasn't working really matches the digital image of a signature of a voter collected 20 years ago from the Board of Election.
For political observers and players, following the status of the challenges is a good exercise. You can check out the often-updated pdf posted by the Board of Elections here. You can see which campaigns are more aggressive at the challenge process (hint: any campaign involving Senator Rickey Hendon is exceptionally aggressive. Read his just-published book if you don't believe me) and thus likely to be more aggressive at picking up votes.
Friday is the first day most campaigns get to read the objections filed against them and the process of scheduling all of these objections starts Monday. It will be a busy and illuminating December.