Fore deserves the right to have his name on the ballot

During a time when we’ve finally begun to believe we can do anything we set our minds to, reality has made a comeback.

Daniel Fore is a suburban Chicago man with a goal. He wants to run for village trustee in Oak Park, Ill., on the platform of representing voices of the community that aren’t heard – those of minorities, low-income families, the disabled and the homeless. He attends most Village Board meetings and according to The Chicago Tribune, he speaks out on a majority of the issues addressed at those meetings.

There’s just one thing standing between this man and his goal: He’s homeless, and therefore has been barred from having his name on the ballot come March 16 when people may begin to vote early.

For more than a month, Fore has had an ongoing battle with the Village Board who just last week voted against Fore’s candidacy, saying the law was unclear whether a street address was absolutely required.

The law states that candidates need to put their address with “the street and number thereof, if any” on nominating papers. The Village Board president said the “if any” words could open up the candidacy to a homeless man, but it was too unclear.

Fore is being represented pro bono by a firm that’s trying to get the Illinois Legislature to look into the statute so that the Village Board will allow Fore’s name on the ballot.

It shouldn’t be a hard fight. It shouldn’t, but it might be.

Fore deserves the right to have his name on the ballot. He was able to get 800 signatures from other residents on his nominating petition, which should be more than enough to put his name on the ballot.

The real issue here isn’t that we think Fore necessarily should be elected – we’re not experts on Oak Park politics – but it’s that Fore has the right to get his name on the ballot, homeless or otherwise. He has the right to petition his government and be a part of the democracy that is our government, which has formerly led us to believe civic participation is possible regardless of race, creed or economic status.

It shouldn’t matter that a man is homeless, the same as it shouldn’t matter if he’s black or white, rich or poor, as long as he has the credentials, the knowledge and the support of his community to hold a position.

Fore deserves the chance to see his name on that ballot.

We hope that the decision to remove Fore’s name from the ballot will be reversed, and that the state Legislature examine the law that the Village Board interpreted as prohibiting Fore from running for office.