Endorsement: Theresa Barreiro for Kane County circuit clerk

Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Thomas Hartwell says the work of his office may not be exciting, but it is important.

We agree. As keeper of the county's judicial records, the circuit clerk's office is not only crucial to the smooth administration of justice in Kane County, but also to keeping the public informed about the workings of their legal system.

Hartwell, a Republican from Elgin, is seeking a third term as the office's top administrator. He's being challenged by two-term county board member Theresa Barreiro, a Democrat from Aurora.

To his credit, Hartwell has taken steps to modernize the office, helping lead the effort to implement an integrated case management system that has digitized millions of case files and made more records available to the public online.

But years after its launch, that system continues to be afflicted with bugs that frustrate its users. And by Hartwell's own admission, online access to public court records is subpar.

Pressed on these issues, Hartwell says they're being addressed, but offers no details or timeline.

Barreiro voices far more urgency over the need to fix the problems and offers specific ideas on how to do it. She also has plans to collect millions of dollars in unpaid fees owed to the county and help reduce the burden of court costs on residents who can least afford it.

Hartwell has done respectable work in his eight years in office, but the ongoing issues he's been unable to address call out for new leadership and new ideas. Barreiro can provide both. She has our endorsement.

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