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On Tuesday, April 7, the day that elections for mayor and other local offices were held in Chicago, election officials asked that a sign in support of incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel be removed from a two story tall inflatable figure of Uncle Sam.
The inflatable was placed on the lawn at a private residence that was also being used as a polling place. The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners received a photo and complaint from a voter and sent investigators to the site. They determined that the inflatable figure was within 100 feet of the entrance to the polling place. This was considered electioneering and was a violation of Chicago election law.
According to the Board of Election Commissioners, the inflatable was set up long before Election Day. It was unclear who put the pro-Emanuel sign on the inflatable man’s chest.
Officials gave the owner of the inflatable Uncle Sam figure three options: move the balloon, deflate it, or remove the pro-Emanuel sign. The owner decided to remove the sign.
Emanuel beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to win a second term as mayor. Tuesday’s election was a runoff that was held because neither candidate had won 50 percent plus one vote in the first round of voting. The same was true in some aldermanic races the first time.
According to the Board of Election Commissioners, few complaints were filed by the public, other than the one about the inflatable man. The Board did have to dismiss three election judges the morning of the voting for inappropriate behavior at the polling places where they were working.