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Gage Park, Brighton Park

New 12th Ward Alderperson To Face One Challenger After Candidate Knocked Off Ballot

Joseph Mercado, 20, was removed from the ballot for not filling out the right paperwork. That leaves Julia Ramirez as Ald. Anabel Abarca’s only challenger in the Feb. 28 election.

This was the first time Joseph Mercado, 20 from Brighton Park, was running for public office. He said he was disappointed to be removed from the ballot.
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BRIGHTON PARK — A technicality has led to a 12th Ward aldermanic candidate being booted from the February ballot.

Joseph Mercado, 20, of Brighton Park, will no longer appear on the 12th Ward ballot after Chicago’s elections board ruled he didn’t fill out the proper paperwork as a candidate.

The ruling came Dec. 30. Challengers questioned Mercado’s candidacy, saying he didn’t file the proper Statement of Economic Interests form. He instead submitted the Board of Ethics Statement of Financial Interests form.

Mercado said he wasn’t aware he filled out the wrong form until the challenge was brought forth. He said it’s frustrating to get removed for a single piece of paper considering he tried to submit everything correctly in “good faith.”

“It’s just really disheartening,” Mercado said. “It feels like I was roadblocked the entire way through this. I never really had an opportunity.”

Mercado said he would’ve fixed his paperwork immediately if someone had alerted him to the incorrect filing sooner.

Mercado said he was born and raised in Brighton Park, which makes up the 12th Ward along with McKinley Park. He was compelled to run for the City Council seat because he felt like his block wasn’t getting the proper city services to fix things like potholes or busted lights, he said.

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“Nobody seemed to care about Brighton Park,” Mercado said. “I couldn’t stand to let my community rot.”

Mercado’s removal means Julia Ramirez is Ald. Anabel Abarca’s only challenger in the Feb. 28 election.

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