Mary Ellen Vanderventer for Lake County recorder of deeds

Lake County voters face a conflicting decision on the Nov. 3 ballot to elect a recorder of deeds and also decide a referendum question on whether to merge that office with the Lake County clerk and eliminate the elected recorder position.

Incumbent Democrat Mary Ellen Vanderventer, of Waukegan, faces a challenge from Republican Emilia Czyszczon, of Deerfield, to lead the office that is the county's keeper of real estate transactions, military discharge papers and other documents.

Vanderventer, who is seeking her seventh term, has led a robust outreach program to explain the office's mission and meaning to residents. She has hosted the office's cable TV show - "Doing Good Deeds for You" - highlighting topics including mortgage fraud and veterans information. She brings her message to community groups, homeowners associations and local government meetings.

She said her employees are cross-trained and help the county clerk staff.

Czyszczon, seeking her first elected office, has a degree in bio engineering and an MBA and has worked in government, academia and industry. She suggests: cross-training employees in the recorder and county clerk's offices; and eliminating online research access fees. She said her background gives a unique perspective into what works and what doesn't.

In addition to 24 years as recorder, Vanderventer has a decade's experience in the clerk's office. That puts her in the best position to carry out voters' wishes - prepare for the Dec. 1, 2022, merger or oversee the office's independent future. She is endorsed.

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