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Government Local

Lottery sets ballot order for Democrats in county clerk primary

SYCAMORE – With a couple of shakes of a recycling bin, Douglas Johnson found out who would be first on the Democratic ballot for DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder. 

Mary Lynn Meisch, chief deputy clerk for elections, picked out one of the two pill bottles inside the blue bin. Johnson opened the bottle and unfolded the paper inside to reveal Trent Taylor would be first name on the ballot.  

Taylor, of DeKalb, is one of two Democratic candidates running for county clerk and recorder, with Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii as his opponent in the March 18 primary. Johnson, the current county clerk and recorder, is the Republican candidate. 

“It’s great, I’m first on the ballot,” Taylor said. “I’m told that helps, but I’d like to think my qualifications and experience wouldn’t make that an issue of who’s first on the ballot.” 

The county clerk is responsible for keeping vital records about residents and businesses, overseeing elections, recording deeds and other services.

A lottery for the Democratic candidates was held Wednesday because Taylor and Ii submitted their candidate petitions at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 25. Because both candidates filed petitions at the same time, a lottery was needed to determine whose name would appear first on the ballot. 

Before the lottery scheduled for 2 p.m., Ii and Taylor’s representative, Kate McCabe, his mother-in-law, arrived at the county clerk’s office in Sycamore to witness the drawing. Afterward, Ii said she didn’t have an opinion on the results because she’s run in elections where the first place slot didn’t guarantee a win. 

“It’s worked both ways for me,” she said. 

Ii said she’s running for county clerk because she is qualified for the position and has the necessary experience. She’s been a city clerk for almost five years and has worked in city government for more than 20 years. 

“I just come with a wealth of knowledge and experience and actually see it as a seamless transition if elected,” she said. 

Taylor, a title examiner specialist with Sycamore-based Fox Title Co., said he has working knowledge of what happens in the county clerk’s office. He said he would like to maintain the level of service the office provides. 

“My goal as county clerk and recorder is to provide services in professional and cost-effective manner,” he wrote in a news release. “…I will bring independence to the office and remain mindful of the taxpayers, who in the end, pay the bills.”

Johnson was appointed county clerk and recorder in September to finish the term of John Acardo, who resigned to work as the human resources director for Kishwaukee College in Malta. He said since September he’s been loving the job and wants to continue doing it. 

“There is so much stuff, that I just enjoy it,” he said. “There’s never a dull moment. There is always something going on, and I love learning new things.” 

He said if he continued as county clerk, he would keep costs down while bringing technology and innovation to the office. 

The names of all three candidates will appear on the ballot for the March 18 primary election to receive their party’s nomination. The winners of the primary will run in the election for November. 

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