DOWNTOWN — A state lawmaker is pushing for a change that would enable Chicagoans to get rid of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) is moving to amend the Revised Cities and Villages Act of 1941 so Chicagoans could potentially remove Emanuel — or any mayor of the city — from power through a recall election. Ford introduced the measure Wednesday, which "establishes a procedure for an election to recall the Mayor of Chicago."
Ford's proposed change comes amid a wave of backlash against Emanuel: This week, 51 percent of Chicagoans polled said they thought Emanuel should resign following the release of a video that shows Chicago police shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The city had fought the release of the video since McDonald was killed in October 2014, and its release was followed by Emanuel asking Supt. Garry McCarthy to resign and the release of videos that show police killing Ronnie Johnson and tasering Philip Coleman in his holding cell before Coleman's death.
The deaths and videos have generated controversy, leading to weeks of protests throughout the city, with many attendees calling for Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign.
Despite the outcry, Emanuel has said he has no plans to resign. Speaking at a City Council meeting on Wednesday, he said he was "sorry" about the McDonald case and would push for reform to the Chicago Police Department.
Even if Ford's mayoral recall measure was made into law, it would be a tall task to recall the city's mayor. Here's what it would entail:
• The Board of Elections would have to receive a notice of intent to circulate a petition to recall the mayor.
• Fifteen percent of the number of people who voted in the last mayoral election would have to sign a petition calling for a recall election. Based on the turnout from the most recent election, about 86,000 people would have to sign the petition.
• The petition would have to include at least 50 signatures from each ward.
• If the petition is valid, the Board of Election Commissioners will submit the question, "Shall (mayor's name) be recalled from the office of mayor?" during a recall election no more than 100 days after the petition is certified.
• The mayor would be removed immediately if the majority of voters voted "yes" to remove him or her during the recall election.
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