The 1844 Chicago mayoral elections is the first of only two instances in which a Chicago mayoral election was declared invalid (the other being the disputed April 1876 mayoral election).

As a result of the Common Council declaring the result of the city's March 1844 mayoral election null and void, a second election was held in April.

While the result of the March election had been a victory for incumbent mayor Augustus Garrett, Garrett was defeated in the April election by Alson Sherman, who had not been a candidate in March.

March election

March 1844 Chicago mayoral election
← 1843 March 4, 1844[1] 1844 (April) →
Nominee Augustus Garrett George Dole Henry Smith
Party Democratic Whig Liberty
Popular vote 805 798 193
Percentage 44.82% 44.43% 10.75%

Mayor before election

Augustus Garrett

Elected Mayor

Result of election voided

In the Chicago mayoral election of March 1844, Democrat Augustus Garrett was reelected, defeating Whig nominee George Dole by a margin of only seven votes out of 1,796 votes cast.[1][2][3]


In February incumbent mayor Augustus Garrett was unanimously nominated by the Democratic Party to run for reelection.[4] George Dole was the Whig Party nominee.[4] Also running was abolitionist Henry Smith,[4] making this the third consecutive Chicago mayoral election he competed in.


March 1844 Chicago mayoral election[4]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Augustus Garrett (incumbent) 805 44.82
Whig George Dole 798 44.43
Liberty Henry Smith 193 10.75
Turnout 1,796

Had the results of this election not been overturned, Garrett would have become the first individual to be elected to two consecutive terms as mayor of Chicago. This accolade instead went to James H. Woodworth in 1849.

Voiding of the March election

The Common Council investigated allegations that the Democrats had conducted electoral fraud in the mayoral election.[2] Whigs alleged that the Democrats had bought votes, violated the secrecy of ballots in two wards (the 3rd and 5th), and altering the clocks at election places. The Common Council assembled an investigating committee which heard more than two weeks of testimony from more than thirty witnesses.[2] While the committee ignored many allegations, the Common Council, nevertheless, ordered for a new election to be conducted on the grounds that clerks in wards had been unqualified to vote.[2][5]

April election

April 1844 Chicago mayoral election
Nominee Alson Sherman Augustus Garrett Henry Smith
Party Independent Democratic Democratic Liberty
Popular vote 837 694 126
Percentage 50.51% 41.88% 7.60%

Mayor before election

Augustus Garrett

Elected Mayor

Alson Sherman
Independent Democratic

In the Chicago mayoral election of April 1844, Independent Democrat Alson Sherman defeated Democratic incumbent Augustus Garrett and Liberty Party nominee Henry Smith by a 9 point margin.


April 1844 Chicago mayoral election[6][7]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Democratic Alson Sherman 837 50.51
Democratic Augustus Garrett (incumbent) 694 41.88
Liberty Henry Smith 126 7.60
Turnout 1,657


  1. ^ a b Alfred Theodore, Andreas (1844). History of Chicago: Ending with the year 1857. Chicago.
  2. ^ a b c d Einhorn, Robin L. (2001). Property Rules: Political Economy in Chicago, 1833-1872. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 34–36.
  3. ^ "Mayor Augustus Garrett Biography".
  4. ^ a b c d Goodspeed, Weston A. (Feb 6, 2017). The History of Cook County, Illinois. Jazzybee Verlag.
  5. ^ Garrett, Augustus (March 7, 1844). "Inaugural Address of Mayor Augustus Garrett". Chicago Public Library. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Chicago Mayors, 1837-2007". Retrieved 2 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Chicago Mayor". Our Campaigns. Retrieved 2018-12-12.