Democratic Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor switching parties for reelection run

The story has been updated to reflect that the $2 million used by Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor for vote-by-mail improvements was from American Rescue Act funding authorized by the county board.

Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor is switching parties in a bid for reelection to a second term.

In an announcement Tuesday night, the Democrat said she decided a switch was best after "several discussions with local Republican leaders."

"My priority is to continue to meet the needs of our community and ensure office operations remain safe, efficient and transparent," the Libertyville resident said.

O'Connor was part of a 2018 Democratic wave in Lake County, defeating incumbent Republican Carla Wyckoff for the position.

The 2022 election will be different in that the clerk and recorder of deeds offices are being combined.

Incumbent Recorder Mary Ellen Vanderventer, a Democrat who has served 26 years in the post, is retiring Nov. 30.

Vanderventer said she is supporting Grayslake resident Anthony Vega, chief of staff to Lake County Sheriff John Idleburg, as the Democratic nominee for clerk.

O"Connor said services to support the new state-mandated, vote-by-mail drop boxes were expanded and technology upgraded during her tenure as clerk.

She said her goal for elections is to ensure voters have access to "vote safely, efficiently, securely and with transparency."

She added that despite the fact 500 election judges dropped out before the March 2020 election, the situation was handled smoothly by consolidating sites and moving experienced judges.

O'Connor said she also used $2 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds for vote-by-mail automation equipment to increase efficiency. The funding was authorized by the Lake County Board.

"One of my key decisions to become a Republican candidate is how our values align with the modernization of county clerk operations, including satellite serves to reach the four corners of Lake County," she added.

Though changing parties, O'Connor said there will be no change in her vision or goals for the office.

"I will proceed to operate with a nonpartisan mindset," she said.

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