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DeKalb County clerk candidates meet at forum

DeKALB – About a month before the primary, the two Democrats running for DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder fielded questions from about 20 people at a candidate forum hosted by the party.

Democrats will choose between Trent Taylor, a title examiner specialist from DeKalb, and Denise Ii, the Sandwich city clerk, when they head to the polls for the March 18 primary election.

Whoever wins will face Republican Douglas Johnson, the current clerk and recorder. Johnson was appointed in September to finish the term of John Acardo, who resigned to work as the human resources director for Kishwaukee College in Malta.

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

On Thursday, Ii said her experience as the city clerk in Sandwich would make her transition to county clerk and recorder seamless. If elected, she said she would like to fix accountability and customer service issues in the office.

“A smile goes a long way and sometimes you feel like you have to apologize when you walk in and ask a question,” Ii said, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Taylor stressed the need to improve reporting of voting returns as well as customer service. Further, he said he would embrace technology, encourage more young people to vote and increase the visibility of the clerk and recorder’s office using social media.

“We have to try to get the kids fired up and get them out there,” Taylor said.

Ii also advocated for making the voting process more accessible and less intimidating, suggesting more education and publicity through technology as well as radio and newspapers.

Both were against consolidating DeKalb County precincts, pointing to different reasons.

“It sounds like consolidation of power, which makes me nervous,” Taylor said, adding he believed combining precincts would place too much burden on election judges.

Consolidating precincts would limit poll accessibility for voters, which would be the quickest way to deter voters, Ii said.

During closing statements, Taylor shared his long-term aspirations.

“I want to take control of this position for the next 20 to 30 years if I can,” he said.

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