DuPage County clerk candidates lay out goals for upcoming term should they be elected – Chicago Tribune
Evelyn Sanguinetti, former Illinois lieutenant governor, is hoping to spoil DuPage County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek’s sophomore term bid in the upcoming Nov. 8 election for which early voting started this week.
Both candidates were asked to share what they believe are the most important issues for voters, what they want to accomplish if they win the four-year term and what they view as the three most important aspects of the clerk’s job.
Republican Sanguinetti, 51, of Wheaton, says she believes most voters are going to the polls with concerns about “safety, inflation and taxes, and trust in their elections.” Those are her concerns as well, especially the elimination of bail bonds under the SAFE-T Act going into effect Jan. 1.
“I’m not saying the entire act is completely wrong — there are some good things about it — but safety is a concern as we’re seeing a lot of safety concerns in the city of Chicago and right now there has been reporting on an influx of crime into our community,” Sanguinetti said.
If elected clerk, she said she’s committed to making changes that would restore residents’ faith in the voting system, she said.
“We want to trust in our electoral system and, at this time in the county, there are issues,” she said.
If elected, her goals are to modernize the clerk’s office and make its actions transparent so that residents know they can trust that things are working properly.
A modernization effort would be made to make the paperwork for marriage licenses available electronically, Sanguinetti said
“Those who wish to get married, we could streamline that by allowing them to do a lot of the paperwork and forms online,” she said.
“I’ll also continue to advocate for the expansion of online services by pursuing legislation to file budgets and levies online with digital signatures rather than in person,” she said.
Sanguinetti also wants to work within the community to sign up more election judges from the ranks of local high school students, thereby getting them involved in the civic process, she said.
Sanguinetti’s list of the most important aspects of the job she seeks to win include:
- Generating revenue by producing a list of all county parcels for tax assessment;
- Overseeing vital records, including birth, death, legal marriage and civil union certificates;
- Administering elections.
Democrat Kaczmarek, 65, a Glen Ellyn resident, said her top issues are “accessibility to voting, election security and (correcting) misinformation regarding the rhetoric out there about election lies.”
“Nationwide as well as here in the county, voters are concerned about accessibility because so many other states are putting up obstacles,” Kaczmarek said. “I feel DuPage County is a model for the state of Illinois in terms of accessibility. We are the first and only county to offer voting anywhere on Election Day.”
Regarding security, Kaczmarek said “voters hear a lot of misinformation and some voters believe that.”
“We are trying to overcome that and there is such a steady drum beat of misinformation,” she said. “Also voters are concerned about accessibility and the election process.”
Regarding security, “we are working with brand new voting equipment and 100% paper ballots, which is the gold standard in election security,” Kaczmarek said.
“Our system was certified by the state of Illinois to meet the highest election standards. It’s never connected to the internet and is impossible to hack.”
If elected to another term as clerk, Kaczmarek said her goals include consolidating the previously separated offices of the clerk and election commission as well as focusing on cross training employees and consolidating the clerk’s office and election commission websites.
“I want to cross train employees to more efficiently allocate staff time throughout the year — especially around election season spikes,” she said.
Because the consolidation of the election commission and clerk’s office meant inheriting separate websites, “now our staff is working to create a single county clerk’s website that will go live after the election,” Kaczmarek said.
“Residents will be more conveniently able to access the information they are looking for at one central location,” she said.
When asked about the main role and duties of the clerk, Kaczmarek listed:
- administering free and fair elections;
- Providing direct services to the public, such as issuing marriage licenses and birth and death certificates;
- Performing ministerial duties for other government bodies, such as calculating property tax rates and keeping county board records.
David Sharos is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.