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Obama Urges 'Grab A Clipboard ... Run For Office': Here's How To Start

By Patty Wetli | January 11, 2017 9:22am | Updated on January 13, 2017 11:41am
 President Obama gave his farewell address Tuesday, January 10 at Chicago's McCormick Place. Photos by Joshua Mellin. More at  joshuamellin.com . 
Obama Farewell Address
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DOWNTOWN — During his farewell address Tuesday night, Pres. Barack Obama had a message for people who are disappointed with their elected officials.

"Grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself," Obama urged the crowd gathered at McCormick Place and the millions of television viewers watching at home.

He made it sound simple. But how does the average person go from voter to candidate, never mind president?

Cook County Clerk David Orr immediately tweeted a handy link to suburban Cook County's "Running for Office Starter Kit."

What about Chicago?

The Board of Election Commissioners' website is loaded with information on how to vote, less so on how to run. This being Chicago, the site's "candidate" section is dominated by the process for, and rulings on, objections to candidate petitions.

The Illinois State Board of Elections provides a comprehensive, if unwieldy, candidate guide for all offices in the state.

Independent organizations devoted to helping potential candidates navigate the process include Emily's List, which recruits and trains women to run for office.

In the words of the president: "Show up. Dive in. Persevere."