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Candidates use Clerk’s new Running For Office Starter Kit to run for office in suburban Cook County. 

December 7, 2016

Nick Shields: 312.603.6952

Candidates use Clerk’s new Running For Office Starter Kit to run for office in suburban Cook County. Filing period for April elections begins Dec. 12

Hundreds of suburban Cook County residents considering a run for elected office have been using a new online application unveiled recently by Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office that seeks to simplify the process of assembling and completing the needed paperwork.

The Running for Office Starter Kit (RFO), created and designed by Clerk Orr’s office, allows suburban Cook County residents to view the elected offices they are eligible to run for and receive the necessary information and documentation to complete the process of running for office.

Since the RFO was launched in October, 293 prospective candidates have used it to generate their candidate packets for the April 4, 2017 suburban Cook County’s Consolidated General Election.

“The RFO is not only making this process easier for all candidates, but it makes it just a little less intimidating for the first-time candidate,” Orr said. “Running for office is tough as it is. Candidates will still need to collect signatures on their own and work to convince voters that they are worth voting for, but this online application at least makes getting on the ballot a little easier.”

The largest number of those who have so far used the RFO – 219, or 75 percent – hope to run for school boards. Another 45 percent (15) look to be park district board candidates, while 9 percent (27) used it to assemble paperwork for library district and 2 are fire protection district candidates (1 percent).

Between Nov. 9 and Monday, Dec. 5, six prospective candidates per day used the RFO to generate candidate paperwork packets. Not every user of the site will generate a packet though—a larger number of potential candidates visit the site to gather information for a possible run.

Free to use, prospective candidates can get started at www.cookcountyclerk.com/RFO. Once there, they simply enter basic information such as their name, birthdate and address to view available offices, filling dates and signature requirements.

Within seconds, the RFO displays all available contests and relevant information. It could also generate a candidate packet complete with the Statement of Candidacy, Loyalty Oath and Petition for Nomination forms prepopulated with the user’s information – saving time, money and costly mistakes that can bump prospective candidates off the ballot.

The Running for Office Starter Kit is currently available for offices within the following suburban Cook County districts:

•    Township & Municipal Districts
•    Elementary School Districts
•    High School Districts
•    Community College Districts
•    Park Districts
•    Library Districts
•    Fire Protection Districts

The filing period for candidates for the April 4 Consolidated Election is Dec. 12-19.

The Clerk’s downtown office, as well as the election warehouse on the western Chicago border with Cicero, will be open the entirety of the filing period. In addition, candidate filing will be conducted at two suburban locations on the first day of filing, when most candidates historically have filed.

Suburban Cook County residents interested in seeking public office, should visit the Clerk’s Running for Office Starter Kit page for a detailed FAQ, explainer video and more information.