The Republican primary for McHenry County clerk pits two county board members who say they want to modernize the office.
Nick Provenzano, 52, of McHenry, has served on the county board since 2002 and is the senior district representative for U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren. He also has private sector experience in economic development.
Mary McClellan, 49, of Holiday Hills, works as an attorney for the Cook County state's attorney's office in civil rights, labor and employment cases. She has run a small business, and was elected to the county board in 2012.
While Provenzano said he set his sights on the clerk's office years ago, McClellan said she decided to run late last summer, when longtime clerk Kathy Schultz announced her retirement. Provenzano pointed to the Lake County clerk's office as a prime example of efficiency.
"The election process (in McHenry County) can be modernized dramatically," he said, most importantly with timely online delivery of results on Election Night.
McClellan said the website also needs to be modernized with updated information and more links to voter resources.
She said her primary concern are the vital records kept by the clerk's office. That software is outdated and no longer has vendor support, McClellan said.
"The key is to negotiate a good contract. You have to make sure that language is there that you have a maintenance agreement," she said.
Provenzano said he also wants to focus on making absentee voting easier.
The county, which has $48 million in reserves, should look at the clerk's office as a high priority, Provenzano said.
The clerk's office's budget is about $475,000 for 2014, plus about $1.25 million for elections, an amount that varies by year, Schultz said.
Provenzano chairs the county board's building and pollution control committees, in addition to serving on the finance, legislative and transportation committees.
McClellan chairs the human resources committee and serves on the law and building committees.
Both praised Schultz's dedication to the office, but also said it's up to the clerk to request more money from the county board.
"If there is not someone that can make the case for it, that doesn't have the leadership, it doesn't get addressed," Provenzano said.
McClellan agreed, saying that while Schultz has managed the budget carefully, it's up to department heads to come to the board with their needs.
County board meetings -- for which the clerk's office keeps minutes -- should be broadcast live via video, not just audio, Provenzano said.
He suggested doing the same for committee meetings, but McClellan said that would be "an overstretch" for staff. "We can have video; it doesn't have to be live," she said.