Carla Wyckoff: Candidate Profile
Name: Carla Wyckoff
City: Lake Forest
Twitter: Carla Wyckoff@CarlaForClerk
Office sought: Lake County Clerk
Occupation: Lake County Clerk
Education: 1970 Bachelor of Journalism, Univ. of Missouri; 1978 MBA, Northwestern Univ. Kellogg School of Management; 1993 JD, Loyola Univ. of Chicago Law School
Civic involvement: Vice President, Board, Independence Center, Waukegan. Prior to election as LCC, was Ruling Elder, 1st Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest (LF) and Chair of Mission Committee; Friends of LF Library Board; Chair, LF City Legal Committee.
Elected offices held: Lake County Clerk
Questions & Answers
Question 1: 1. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
As the LCC met the challenge of new legislative mandates to provide Election Day Registration in every polling site and to establish Universal Early Voting sites throughout the county. Purchased all new equipment and systems; revised procedures; and trained almost 2,000 Election Judges to implement new activities in what ended up to be a record turnout for both 2016 Elections. Worked with LC Treasurer and Assessor to implement a new, streamlined, integrated tax management system. At the same time, continued to accurately and timely calculate tax rates and accept/distribute redemption payments as well as maintaining and preserving integrity of LC vital records. Enhanced communications by making website more user friendly and increasing distribution of e-newsletter, press releases, joint efforts with LC and LC Board as well as attending Senior and County Fairs and Farmers' Markets and civic and community events.
Question 2: How will you ensure the security of ballots and guard against hacking efforts? Is the clerk's office doing enough now?
The LCCO takes election security seriously. Currently working with the LC IT Department which is sophisticated in its understanding of and approach to the problem. Working through the Ill. Assn. of County Clerks with the FBI, Homeland Security, the Ill. State Police and the Ill. Terrorism Intelligence Center to share information and keep current on developments and strategies, including scanning, firewalls, encrypted data, password and multiple level authentication as well as the dangers of pfishing and social engineering. Also implementing physical measures to ensure security of ballots and election materials. Doing analysis of possible vulnerabilities and preparing back-up plans. LC's optical scan tabulating system is considered the least vulnerable ballot counting and transmission system as it incorporates original paper ballots and printed results before transmission. We recognize that constant vigilance is necessary and ongoing.
Question 3: Some Republican-controlled counties in Georgia and elsewhere in the United States have been closing polling places in poor, majority black communities. Proponents say it reduces election related costs; opponents say it's voter suppression. What do you think? Would you support such efforts in Lake County?
I am not familiar with the Georgia incidents mentioned so I can't express a specific opinion. As LCC one of my priorities is to ensure that all those eligible are able to vote. It is, however, also important to acknowledge the duty to taxpayers to effect this registration/voting accessibility efficiently and to maintain a balance between offering services and cost. Each polling site incurs equipment, supply, election judge and transportation costs. In the last 4 years in LC, there has been a slight increase -- rather than a decrease -- in the number of voting sites. Instead, LC has been able to control costs in other ways -- for example, by performing all election preparation internally (including coding and printing the required 500,000 ballots) rather than relying on outside vendors. This reduces cost and helps maintain control. All staff is cross-trained to reduce need to hire part-time, seasonal workers. Despite very low turnout (therefore, higher incremental cost) at some polling places, LC has no plans to eliminate any of these sites. Instead, efforts should focus on increasing turnout.
Question 4: Are there additional measures the county should take to allow for fair and equal access to voting for all residents?
Illinois has enacted laws that make registration and voting extremely accessible. This includes automatic voter registration at the DMV, on-line registration, mail-in registration, grace registration during early voting, election day registration in every one of the 121 polling sites, two full weeks of early voting with evening and weekend hours, voting by mail for anyone, 6 am to 7 pm hours in all 121 polling sites on election day and ADA compliant equipment in every voting site. LC now has a record number of 442,088 registered voters -- or about 86% of all age-eligible residents. Of more concern is the turnout. Presidential elections typically garner a 70 to 74 % percent turnout. The turnout for the 2017 Consolidated Election was 14%; the 2018 Primary Election, 22.49 %. To increase the turnout will take combined efforts of the LCCO along with political leaders, community and civic organizations and educators to encourage greater participation and to ensure resources to provide accurate information about candidates and issues.
Question 5: What are your thoughts on consolidating the county clerk's and recorder's offices? How would this benefit/hurt the county?
I am not so presumptuous to think I know enough about the responsibilities and specific activities of the LC Recorder's Office to make a recommendation without further research. I understand that numerous smaller counties in Illinois have a combined Clerk/Recorder Official. Eliminating one of the elected officials might reduce the overall costs of the activities somewhat. I am unsure if there would or could be other economies through consolidation. It is also possible that combining the offices would result in a more unwieldy group to manage well. The best approach might be to study other counties--preferably including some close to the size and activity level of LC--and evaluate their experience.