David Orr

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David Orr


David Orr is an Illinois socialist. He has been Cook County Clerk since 1991. He is the chief election authority for suburban Cook County, the third largest election jurisdictions in the country[1].

Background

Before embarking on a career in public service, Orr worked as an assistant professor of History and Urban Affairs at Mundelein College inChicago . He received his undergraduate degree from Simpson College inIowa and a Master’s Degree in American studies from Case WesternUniversity in Cleveland .

Orr lives in Chicago ’s Rogers Park neighborhood with his four children and wife, Loretta, a nurse at Cook County Hospital . [2]

Vote activism

As Cook County Clerk, David Orr serves as the chief election authority in the third largest election jurisdiction in the country and has found innovative ways to reform how government works and to make his office run more efficiently.

A progressive voice in Chicago politics for 30 years, Orr led the fight to implement the motor voter law in Illinois, which has made it easier and more convenient for people to sign up to vote.

Orr – who served as president of the National Association of County Recorders, Election Officials and Clerks (NACRC), and a member of the Board of Advisors to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) – has played pivotal roles in helping to shape federal and state election reforms.

Following the 2000 presidential election, Orr successfully fought for the rights of Cook County voters to use error-detection technology in future elections that alerts them to mistakes and gives them a “second chance” to make changes or corrections.

Orr promoted passage of a statewide law that allows senior high school students to serve as election judges, part of the Clerk’s Teen Democracy Program, and has used new technology to layout the county’s multiple ballot formats in house.

In an effort to increase voter turnout and awareness, Orr established an award-winning interactive voter website,www.voterinfonet.com, and has earned national recognition for launching voter education campaigns and redesigning polling place materials aimed at simplifying the voting process.

In 1996, Orr successfully spearheaded the legal fight to fully implement the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as the motor voter law. Overcoming stiff partisan opposition, Orr argued that prohibiting voters who registered under NVRA from participating in state and local elections violated constitutional rights and threatened to disenfranchise voters. Just prior to the November 1996 presidential election, a federal appellate court judge agreed with Orr and refused to overturn a lower-court’s decision.

The motor-voter legislation combined with Orr’s ambitious and creative efforts to register new voters at grocery stores, sporting events, schools and summer fairs, has resulted in a record number of voters in Illinois. Since taking office in 1990, more than 1 million new voters have been added to the county voting rolls.

Also, Orr led the fight for the new early voting legislation, which will allow people to vote over a 20-day period prior to an election without having to provide a reason or excuse.

The early voting legislation was part of a 2005 bill that also allows people who changed their names to vote, and allows election judges time off from work on Election Day without having to take a vacation day.

Orr, a former Chicago alderman, served as vice mayor under Mayor Harold Washington. Following Washington ’s death in 1987, Orr took over as mayor and was recognized for his strong and sensible leadership during one the most tumultuous periods in Chicago ’s political history.[3]

Institute for Policy Studies connections

David Orr, Chicago Alderman, was listed[4]among those participating in the Institute for Policy Studies affiliated Conference on Alternative State and Local Policies {CASLP} Bryn Mawr August 3-5 1979.

Peace Council dinner

On November 8, 1986, David Orr and Lupe Lozano were honored at the 7th annual Chicago Peace Council dinner held at Sauer's Restaurant. Featured speaker was Berkeley mayor Gus Newport.[5]

Links to Democratic Socialists of America

1983-0.jpg

David Orr has been close to Chicago Democratic Socialists of America since the 1980s.

He was a regular at the annual ChicagoDemocratic Socialists of America organized Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington Dinner.

The 1983 Norman Thomas - Eugene V. Debs Dinner was held at the McCormick Inn on Saturday, May 7. Newly elected Mayor Harold Washington was unable to attend at the last minute. Carl Shier, who was to have introduced him, read a message from him instead, and spoke of DSA's considerable role in Washington's election campaign. Congressman Ron Dellums provided the Thomas - Debs address.

David Orr, attended and was photographed (at left) with aspiring Congressman Charles Hayes-already running for the Congressional seat left vacant when Harold Washington won the Chicago mayoral election[6].

In 1988, Alderman David Orr served on the Board of Directors of PROCAN (Progressive Chicago Area Network), an organization which included several prominent Democratic Socialists of America members, including Alderman Danny K Davis, Roberta Lynch and Dr Ron Sable.[7]

The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America PAC endorsed four candidates in the 1990 Democratic primary election, two of whom won: Miguel del Valle won reelection as the Democratic candidate to the State Senate from the 4th Senate District and David Orr won the Democratic nomination for County Clerk.[8]

Cook County Clerk David Orr, also attended Chicago DSA's the The 35th Annual Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington Dinner on May 7th 1993[9].

DSA staffer

DSA News, January 1986

In 1986, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America member Monty Tarbox, left his job as a staffer to Alderman David Orr to take up a job as PR man for the Public Utilities Commission.

New Directions

Capturenoodirections.JPG

DSA 1990 endorsement

Democratic left, April/May 1990, page 2

Chicago Democratic Socialists of America endorsed David Orr in 1990.

Tribute to Golub and Montgomery

On November 16, 1989, David Orr served on the Tribute Committee for the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights Tribute to Leon Golub and Lucy Montgomery, held at the Congress Hotel, Chicago.[10]

Progressive Chicago

In late 1993 Progressive Chicago letters were always signed by 17 people;[11]

Support for Alice Palmer

Orr was an early supporter of Alice Palmer in her bid for U.S. Congress.

In the mid 1990s David Orr was listed[12]as a member of Friends of Alice Palmer (in formation), alongside Danny K Davis, Tony Rezko and Barack Obama.

Illinois Public Action

In 1995 David Orr was a member of the board of directors[13]of Illinois Public Action.

In 1996 members of the 120 strong board[14]of Illinois Public Action included Quentin Young, Congressmen Luis Gutierrez and Lane Evans, Chicago alderman Joe Moore and Peoria alderman Frank McNeil, State Senator Alice Palmer, State Representative Jan Schakowsky and Cook County Clerk David Orr.

Citizen Action of Illinois

In 1997 David Orr served on the board of directors of Citizen Action of Illinois.[15]

Crossroads Fund

In 2007, David Orr was an honorary host for the 25th Anniversary of the Crossroads Fund.[16] The fund, founded in 1981 supports community organizations working on "issues of social and economic justice" in the Chicago area.

References

  1. http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/aboutus/meetyourclerk/Pages/default.aspx
  2. David Orr website, accessed August 20, 2012
  3. David Orr website, accessed August 20, 2012
  4. Information Digest August 24 1979
  5. PWW October 3, 1986, page 22
  6. http://www.chicagodsa.org/d1983/index.html
  7. PROCAN meeting notification letter April 27 1988
  8. DEMOCRATIC: LEFT MAY-JUNE 1990, page 8
  9. http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng30.html
  10. Tribute to Golub and Montgomery: Program, Nov. 16, 1989
  11. Progressive Chicago letterheads November 5 and December 31, 1993
  12. Undated Friends of Alice Palmer membership list. Harold Washington papers
  13. IPA 20th Anniversary Dinner leaflet
  14. http://www.chicagodsa.org/ngarchive/ng44.html
  15. Citizen Action of Illinois B.O.D. list
  16. Crossroads fund 2007 Annual Report page 33