Building on the critically acclaimed Running for Office Starter Kit (RFO), Cook County Clerk David Orr announced Monday that prospective candidates can now use the starter kit, available through the Clerk’s website, to generate the necessary paperwork for countywide offices.
The Running for Office Starter Kit, introduced by Orr’s office in 2016, was used by nearly 300 candidates for local office in suburban Cook County in the 2017 Consolidated Election. Upgrades to the RFO now allow candidates for countywide offices such as Cook County Board President, County Clerk and Sheriff.
“People hoping to run for office really made the RFO a success in this spring’s Consolidated Election,” Orr said. “They demonstrated that this application fills a need among candidates and prospective candidates, and I am pleased that my office can now offer this assistance to those who wish to run for a host of additional offices throughout all of Cook County, including those that overlap with Chicago.”
Candidates can use the RFO to help generate the paperwork needed to run for the following offices on the ballot in the March 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election:
- Cook County Board President
- Cook County Commissioners
- Cook County Sheriff
- Cook County Treasurer
- Cook County Assessor
- Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
- Township Committeemen
These are all offices whose candidates file their paperwork with the County Clerk’s office. This does not include federal, state, and judicial offices. Anyone interested in running for those offices should contact the Illinois State Board of Elections, where petitions and paperwork for those offices are filed.
Before expanding its scope, the Running for Office Starter already helped those seeking to run for the following suburban Cook County offices:
- Township & Municipal Districts
- Elementary School Districts
- High School Districts
- Community College Districts
- Park Districts
- Library Districts
- Fire Protection Districts
The online application, which was developed by Orr’s office and is unique to suburban Cook County, seeks to ease the process of assembling and completing the needed paperwork. It allows 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.
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 minutes 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.
Following its successful launch, Orr’s office offered the RFO framework to any other election authority in the U.S. that wishes to create their own RFO.
After its October 2016 launch, 248 prospective candidates used it to generate their candidate packets for the April 4, 2017 Consolidated General Election. Most used the application to generate paperwork to run for school boards, while candidates for park district boards and library districts also used it to generate candidate paperwork packets or just gather information for a possible run for office.
Candidates who utilized the RFO tool made an impact on Election Day – running in 129 contests and preventing 43 races from going uncontested as well as 26 from not having any candidates for voters to choose from.
The RFO has become nationally recognized by election authorities for its innovative and technological achievement. It has earned Clerk Orr’s office the 2017 Innovator Award by the International Association of Government Officials and the 2017 Guardian Award, from the Election Center.
The filing period for candidates for the March 20, 2018 Primary Election is Nov. 27 – Dec. 4. For more information regarding the Running for Office Starter Kit visit www.cookcountyclerk.com.