Orr’s statement on candidacy of homeless man in Oak Park

February 19, 2009
Press Release
Statement from the Clerk

I join the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless in supporting the right of homeless people to run for office.

In 1992, I fought for legislation that allows homeless voters to use the mailing address of a relative's home, or the soup kitchen, shelter or transitional housing program they frequent. The Illinois law was the first in the nation and has worked quite well to enfranchise homeless voters.

The same principle is at the heart of this issue. Just as homeless voters deserve the right to cast ballots, homeless candidates have a right to run for office. At a time when more and more Americans are losing their homes, it is imperative they not also lose access to full participation in our democracy – either as voters or officeholders.

I'm pleased Kirkland & Ellis volunteered their legal services to raise this issue in court on behalf of a homeless man running for Oak Park trustee. We do believe existing law supports their case.