With a slew of candidates declaring they plan to run write-in campaigns, Evanston is looking at a busy primary election in a few months.

Eight candidates stepped forward on Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, signing a declaration of intent they plan to run as write-in candidates in the election.

Under Illinois Election statute, write-in votes are counted only for persons who have signed the declarations of intent not later than 61 days prior to the General Election, which is April 6 next year.

But to run as write-ins in the Feb. 23 primary they have until Thursday, Dec. 17, to submit their forms, said City Clerk Devon Reid, the City’s local election official.

In the City Clerk’s race, four candidates signed declarations of intent to run as write-in candidates, joining Stephanie Mendoza, who is already on the ballot, and swelling that field to five, the tipping point for a primary election to be held, said Clerk Reid.

Ms. Witenberg, who puts out Evanston Leads, an online blog that advocates for local government transparency and accountability, said she initially  considered running for Clerk and then decided against it. She said she then gave the matter consideration after Clerk candidate Jane Grover withdrew last week, and she was approached to run as a write-in.

She said one of her areas of emphasis would be Freedom of Information Act requests, which the Clerk’s office traditionally has administered.

“Right now it doesn’t appear the City is taking very seriously its obligation under FOIA,” she said.

In the Fourth Ward, two write-in candidates have stepped forward, Patricia Connolly and Sari Kadison-Shapiro, bringing to five the number of candidates vying for alderman of that ward with the incumbent Donald Wilson and challenger Diane Goldring already on the ballot.

In the Eighth Ward, two candidates declared their intent to run write-in campaigns, Joshua Hall and Christine Leone, bringing the field to five, with Mr. Reid, incumbent Ann Rainey, and Matthew Mitchell already on the ballot.

A primary election is held in Illinois to narrow the candidate field.

In the Mayor’s race, the top two vote-getters in the primary will advance to the April 6 General Election unless one candidate receives more than 50% of the votes cast in the primary.

In that case, the person would be declared the new office holder and no general election would be necessary.

In the Clerk and aldermanic races, the top two vote-getters in the primary would then face off in the General election, no matter what percentage of the vote they receive in the primary, Mr. Reid noted.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.