CHICAGO -- Chicago election officials gave the go-ahead Monday to print millions of ballots for the city's mayoral election without Rahm Emanuel's name, after an appellate court ruled earlier in the day to kick the former White House chief of staff off the ballot.
Emanuel's lawyers quickly sought help from the Illinois Supreme Court to keep his name on the ballot.
Officials with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners said they had waited to start printing ballots for the Feb. 22 election until the Illinois appellate court ruling, which found Emanuel's name can't be on the ballot because he didn't live in Chicago for a year before the election.
With time running out, Emanuel's lawyers filed an emergency motion with the high court to stop the appellate court ruling and asked the court to tell Chicago election officials to keep his name on ballots. They also asked the Supreme Court justices to expedite an appeal, which they said would be filed no later than Tuesday.
"So the court may hear and decide this case as soon as possible," according to Emanuel's filing.
The election board's chairman, Langdon Neal, said there wasn't much time to print ballots, particularly because absentee ballots needed to be sent out in the coming days.
"We can't wait and stop what we're doing to adjust to every possibility that may occur," said Neal. "The possible situations that could occur are numerous."
Neal said absentee ballots would be printed first starting Tuesday but that an order for 2 million ballots without Emanuel's name had been placed.
Neal and other election officials declined to discuss in detail what could happen if the Illinois Supreme Court decided to take on the Emanuel case and overturned the ruling.
"If we're ordered by a court we'll make whatever adjustments the court orders," Neal said.
It was unclear what would happen if a court's ruling would add Emanuel's name back to the ballot.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," said board spokesman Jim Allen.
Early voting in the race to replace retiring Mayor Richard Daley starts Jan. 31. However, early voting involves only touch screens, which can be adjusted easier than paper ballots, Neal said.
The residency issue has dogged Emanuel's mayoral bid. The appellate court's 2-1 decision Monday overturned a lower court's ruling.
Other candidates for mayor include former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, former Chicago Public Schools board president Gery Chico and City Clerk Miguel del Valle.