PORTAGE PARK — Approximately 34 percent more early ballots have been cast in the 38th Ward — where seven candidates are running for alderman — through nine days of voting than in the entire early voting period before the 2011 municipal election, officials said Wednesday.
By the end of the day Wednesday, 1,458 early votes had been cast in the 38th Ward, according to data released by the Chicago Board of Elections.
During the entire early voting period in 2011, including in-person absentee ballots and votes cast during the registration grace period, 1,090 votes were recorded, spokesman Jim Allen said.
Seven candidates are vying to replace Ald. Tim Cullerton (38th), who is retiring in May. His family has controlled the 38th Ward seat representing Portage Park and Dunning since 1973.
The candidates in the race are Chicago City Council legislative aide Belinda Cadiz; Realtor Tom Caravette; retired city employee Michael Duda; Carmen Hernandez, a city water department investigator; Cook County Forest Preserve Sgt. Jerry Paszek, nonprofit executive Heather Sattler; and Ald. Nicholas Sposato (36th), a firefighter.
Voters in the 41st Ward, where Ald. Mary O'Connor's bid for re-election is being challenged by firefighter Anthony Napolitano and business owner Joe Lomanto, cast the second-highest number of early votes of any ward in the city.
Through Wednesday, 2,378 early votes had been cast in the 41st Ward, officials said.
In the 45th Ward — where Ald. John Arena's bid for a second term is being challenged by Chicago Police Lt. John Garrido, whom he defeated by 30 votes in 2011, along with Michelle Baert, who publishes a family-friendly website as the 45th Ward Mom, and state regulatory attorney Michael Diaz — 1,392 early votes had been cast, officials said.
That is about 79 percent as many 45th Ward voters who cast early ballots as did in the days leading up to election day in the 2011 mayoral race.
If no candidate in each race gets 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, the top two vote-getters will square off in a runoff on April 7.
Early voting is available through Saturday.
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