CHICAGO
03/25/2011 02:40 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Aldermanic Runoffs: Some Races See Heated Early Voting, Others See Little Action

After a hotly contested November general election, and an equally aggressive citywide election this February, Chicagoans could be forgiven for having a bit of ballot fatigue.

But for residents of fourteen of the city's 50 wards, there's one more vote to go. On April 5, those aldermanic candidates who didn't win 50 percent of the vote in their February 22 races will go to a runoff with their runner-up.

Early voting has been open for several weeks in those races, and the numbers of early ballots cast serve as a guide to the races that are still attracting local attention -- and those that appear to be all but forgotten.

Nearly 20 percent of the early ballots cast citywide have been in one runoff: the race in the 41st Ward, an oddly-shaped ward in the city's far northwest reaches that takes in the egg-shaped protrusion of the city limits that is O'Hare Airport. Alderman Brian Doherty, the one self-described "card-carrying Republican" on the Chicago City Council, is retiring this year, and the race there is to fill his empty seat.

Maurita Gavin, Doherty's chosen successor, has also voted Republican in recent years' primaries. But she has styled herself more of an independent, hoping to win her runoff against Democratic Ward Committeeman Mary O'Connor.

Over 1,600 early votes have been cast in that race already.

Some 1,077 votes have also been cast in the race for the 6th Ward, where incumbent Alderman Freddrenna Lyle is facing a challenge from Roderick T. Sawyer, the son of former mayor Eugene Sawyer.

By contrast, only 148 voters have cast ballots in the 15th Ward, where incumbent Toni Foulkes faces a challenge from Raymond Lopez.

Even one of the most media-grabbing aldermanic races in recent memory, the contest between rapper Che "Rhymefest" Smith and incumbent alderman Willie Cochran in the 20th Ward, has seen little action in the early voting phase. Only 320 ballots have been cast in that race.

For the complete list of early voting totals, find WBEZ's story here.