PILSEN — Defeated 25th Ward challenger Aida Flores crashed a news conference Wednesday at City Hall to accuse Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) of fostering voter suppression and intimidation during last month’s election.
The confrontation, captured on video by WBEZ reporter Tessa Weinberg, shows Flores and supporters interrupting Sigcho-Lopez’s news conference, during which he was calling on the city to adopt a zero-tolerance policy regarding ties to white supremacy within the Police Department.
A Flores supporter took the microphone from the podium the alderman was speaking at and handed it to Flores as she and others begin shouting over each other. Later, after the microphone is cut, someone attending Sigcho-Lopez’s news conference grabbed the microphone from Flores, video shows.
Flores, a Chicago Public Schools educator and second-time aldermanic candidate, was Sigcho-Lopez’s only challenger in the Feb. 28 election.
The alderman was reelected to his seat with 52.4 percent of the vote to Flores’ 47.6 percent, according to results from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The results were certified Wednesday.
Sigcho-Lopez compared Flores to former President Donald Trump, who falsely claimed that he lost the 2020 election because of voter fraud.
“I’m just appalled by this Trump-ian response,” he said. “It’s really shameful.”
Flores said she and others are speaking out to ensure residents can vote “freely” and “safely” during the upcoming April 4 runoff election.
“I can’t concretely say what the outcome of the election would’ve been, but it’s not about what happened,” she told Block Club. “The election process took place, but the way with which it was handled was not OK.”
Flores said she heard accusations of harassment or intimidation by people affiliated with Sigcho-Lopez and his campaign from voters, volunteers and poll workers. She said she wants the alderman to acknowledge the issues and apologize or resign as 25th Ward committeeman for the Cook County Democratic party.
Sigcho-Lopez denied the allegations and said election concerns should be addressed following the “proper channels.” He said his office has received a few calls from election workers who said they were contacted by Flores’ team after Election Day and were uncomfortable with their questions about the election’s integrity.
“There’s a due process to look into and investigate the matter,” he said.
Flores’ sister said she filed a formal complaint with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. A spokesperson for the board couldn’t immediately confirm if complaints were filed.
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