Aldermanic elections in Chicago

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The City of Chicago has held elections to its City Council since its incorporation in 1837. Elections were held annually from 1837 through 1921, biennially from 1923 through 1933, and quadrennially starting in 1935. From 1851 through 1922 the Council was staggered and half of it was chosen at each election, but before 1851 and since 1923 the entire Council has been elected at each election.

Members of the Council are known as "aldermen"—a term that is gender-neutral, although "alderwoman" and "alderperson" are occasionally encountered—and are elected from districts known as "wards". Since 1923 there have been fifty wards, each entitled to one alderman. Prior to that time the number of wards varied but they were almost always entitled to two aldermen each. The Council was known as the "Common Council" prior to 1875.

History[edit]

When Chicago was incorporated as a town in 1833, it was governed by a Board of Trustees that were elected at large and who elected a President from among themselves. Chicago's incorporation as a city in 1837 abandoned such a model in favor of a Common Council elected from wards and a separate mayor elected at large. However, the mayor would serve as the presiding officer of the Common Council. Each ward was nominally entitled to two aldermen each; however, prior to 1839 the 3rd and 5th wards were only entitled to one alderman each. Aldermanic terms were one year each, and both aldermen were elected simultaneously in a ward. After 1850 aldermanic terms were extended to two years but the council was then staggered so that elections continued to be held annually and only one alderman was elected from a ward each election.[1]

The City Charter was abolished in favor of the Cities and Villages Act of 1872, which renamed the council the "City Council".

In 1920 elections were made officially nonpartisan. In 1923 the number of aldermen per ward was decreased to one and the number of wards was increased to fifty, while the entire council was once again elected at each election. Starting in 1935 the term for aldermen was extended to four years, and aldermanic elections since that time have coincided with the mayoral election.

In 1837 there were six wards, before that number was increased to nine in 1847, ten in 1853, sixteen in 1863, twenty in 1869, down to eighteen in 1876, to twenty-four in 1887 and thirty-four in 1890, to thirty-five in 1900, before being increased to fifty in 1923.[1]

Current election laws[edit]

There are no term limits for aldermen.

Results[edit]

NOTE: Aldermanic elections after 1920 are officially nonpartisan, any partisan statistics are for informative purposes only.

Since 1923[edit]

Elections to the Chicago City Council since 1923
Year Controlling party Dem Dem swing GOP GOP swing Other Other swing Independent Independent swing Results map Changes map
2019 [to be determined]
2015 Democratic
49 / 50
49 Decrease1 1 Increase1 0 - 0 - Chicago aldermanic elections, 2015 - Results By Ward.svg
2011
2007
2003
1999
1995
1991
1987
1983
1979
1975
1971
1967
1963
1959
1955
1951
1947
1943
1939
1935
1933
1931
1929 Republican
27 / 50
23 Decrease7 27 Increase7 0 - 0 - Chicago Aldermanic Results by Ward, 1929.png
1927 Democratic
31 / 50
31 19 0 - 0 - Chicago Aldermanic Results by Ward,1927.png
1925
1923 Democratic
37 / 50
37 13 0 0 Chicago Aldermanic Results by Ward, 1923.png

Before 1923[edit]

Elections to the Chicago City Council from 1837 through 1922
Year Number of wards Majority Controlling party Dem Dem swing GOP/Whig GOP/Whig swing Other Other swing Independent Independent swing Results map Changes map
1900 35 36 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1901 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1902 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1903 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1904 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1905 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1906 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1907 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1908 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1909 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1910 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1911 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1912 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1913 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1914 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1915 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1916 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1917 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1918 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1919 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1920 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1921 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1922 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1890 34 35 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1891 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1892 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1893 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1894 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1895 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1896 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1897 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1898 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1899 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1887 24 25 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1888 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1889 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1876 18 19 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1877 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1878 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1879 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1880 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1881 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1882 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1883 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1884 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1885 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1886 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1869 20 21 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1870 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1871 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1872 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1873 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1874 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1875 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1863 16 17 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1864 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1865 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1866 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1867 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1868 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1857 10 11 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1858 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1859 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1860 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1861 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1862 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1847 9 10 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1848 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1849 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1850 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1851 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1852 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1853 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1854 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1855 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1856 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1837[2] 6 6[a] Democratic (10/10) 10 - 0 - 0 - 0 - Chicago ward map 1837.png
1838 No overall control, Democratic plurality (5/10) 5 Decrease5 2 Increase2 0 - 3 Increase3
1839 7 Independent (9/12) 1 Decrease4 2 - 0 - 9 Increase6
1840 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1841 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1842 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1843 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1844 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1845 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1846 Independent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
  1. ^ The 3rd and 5th wards were each only entitled to one alderman prior to 1839.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Centennial List of Mayors, City Clerks, City Attorneys, City Treasurers, and Aldermen, elected by the people of the city of Chicago, from the incorporation of the city on March 4, 1837, to March 4, 1937, arranged in alphabetical order, showing the years during which each official held office". Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Origin, Growth, and Usefulness of the Chicago Board of Trade: Its Leading Members, and Representative Business Men in other branches of Trade. New York: Historical Publishing Company. 1885–1886. p. 37. Retrieved December 4, 2018.CS1 maint: Date format (link)