It is with great sadness that IVI-IPO notes the passing of Richard K. Means, our State Chair from 1991-1993, of COVID complications. Rich was a fighter for justice and a standard bearer for open, honest government. One of the top election lawyers in Illinois, respected by attorneys and activists of all political persuasions, he helped innumerable candidates navigate the web of ballot access laws and clear the hurdles of petition challenges.
Rich devoted many years to IVI-IPO both before and after his service as State Chair. He was a regular fixture of our A-Z Campaign Workshops as producer and presenter of our most popular class: “How to Get on the Ballot – and Stay There!” Any candidate who took that class came away with a wealth of knowledge, especially recognition of the importance of that earliest phase of a campaign. Rich never used the opportunity to sell his services, but he always stressed how important it was for candidates to get legal assistance – because if they didn’t get on the ballot none of the other skills we were teaching for the rest of the campaign would help them! He communicated with passion and with humor and many current office holders owe their political start not only to his skills, but his patience and kindness.
Rich also advocated for legislation and judicial action to increase government transparency. Public access to government documents, online debate and voting records of the state legislature, lobbyist disclosure, and campaign financial disclosure, are among the good government policies that came to fruition through Rich’s efforts. He twice won IVI-IPO’s coveted Legal Eagle Award, for his work in both election law and redistricting reform. Rich was involved in many political and legal efforts including LEAP, Common Cause, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, and most recently as President of the Northeastern Illinois Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. He was an honest, ethical, principled champion of the independent movement and we will miss him greatly.
Read Rich’s obituary and sign the guest book at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/chicagotribune/name/richard-means-obituary?pid=197322052