Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham has had 12 years to learn the ins and outs of the clerk's office, as well as adapt to emerging technology and early voting.
Cunningham, 75, of Aurora, says this experience gives him an advantage over his opponent, Mark Davoust, in the March 18 primary to see who will represent Republicans in the November election.
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"I enjoy public service," Cunningham said. "I love to solve problems. I've been doing it my entire life. I've done it in this office."
Cunningham has seen a variety of changes in the clerk's office, as voting has advanced from punch cards to electronic ballots. He says his office has been contacted by Cook County Clerk David Orr for tips and guidance on how to implement early voting.
In an age where the integrity of elections is paramount, Cunningham says Election Day votes are transmitted through secured lines that are "impenetrable."
"We've made sure we've got the best equipment possible with the highest security," Cunningham said. "We're interested, professionally, in getting the most accurate results out as quickly as we can."
Davoust, 55, of St. Charles, has served as a Kane County Board member for the last 10 years and been on committees that oversee the clerk's office.
Davoust said he would step back from his role as general manager and vice president of a Batavia-based family business that makes self-sticking gauze tape to devote himself to the county clerk role.
He believes his private sector experience, combined with public policy-setting at the county board level, make him a good candidate for the four-year post of county clerk.
"This office represents an opportunity to continue (public service). It's a direct link to the public," Davoust said, stressing he has no higher aspirations to hold a state office in Springfield. "I like living here and working here."
Cunningham ran in the 2012 primary against Judy Biggert for the newly formed 11th Congressional District. He was kicked out of the race by an appellate court panel for flawed nominating petitions; Biggert lost the 2012 general election to Democrat Bill Foster.
The winner between Cunningham and Davoust in the March primary election will advance to the Nov. 4 general election. So far, no Democrat has filed to run for county clerk.