Joe Tirio: 2022 candidate for McHenry County Clerk
Office sought: McHenry County Clerk
Occupation: County Clerk
Previous offices held: County Recorder
Q: Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A: When I first ran for office, I was focused on reducing costs and improving service. Since then, I have made dramatic service improvements, eliminated one elected officer, and saved nearly $3 Million. Reducing costs remains a priority, especially in these challenging times. While we will reduce the budget in the areas we can control, election integrity has become an area of focus for our office and the people serve.
Election integrity took a place on the national stage in 2016 and 2020 following the respective Presidential races. In both cases, some segments of the population felt the elections were not fair and/or did not trust the published outcome. Our government starts at the ballot box. We communicate our consent to be governed by the act of voting. To ensure faith in our processes, I have been a leader among my peers on the subject of election integrity. McHenry County demonstrated that leadership by being the only county in the state to perform a hand-counted audit.
Q: 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 position and what would your priority be?
A: -- Kept my promises: Eliminated the elected Recorder county officer, waived my right to the IMRF pension, and through policy, eliminated nepotism and patronage from my offices.
-- Saved our taxpayers millions: Saved nearly $3 Million through improved management practices, technology and process improvements.
-- Reduced fees
-- Hand Count: With the help of the Democratic and Republican parties, we performed the only post-election hand-counted audit in the state.
-- Fair precinct maps: We delivered to the County Board a fair precinct map, devoid of any political gerrymandering
-- COVID Response: With the help of our amazing staff and Election Judges, we delivered elections on time and as planned. Both offices continued to operate throughout the pandemic, save a single day closed to prepare the adaptations needed to continue. We even implemented a "COVID Classroom" where staff with children could bring their kids to study while we 'flattened the curve'.
Q: Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.
A: Online Marriage License preparation: This will allow residents to begin the process of filing for their marriage license online, reducing the time spent in the office and consequently, reducing demand on staff. Also, as COVID seems to be a permanent part of our lives now, the reduced time spent in the office could help to reduce the likelihood of spreading it or other airborne diseases. Initial implementation funding has already been secured. Ongoing, it should help reduce the need to increase staff and ultimately pay for itself in that way.
Q: How secure are you in the knowledge that election results in McHenry County are reported fairly and accurately?
A: I am very secure. Not only do we follow the guidelines set out for all election authorities, but we also do significantly more. We get direct data from the Coroner and Circuit Clerk to help ensure our voter rolls are as clean as they can be in as timely a manner as possible. We train our judges on signature comparison (not done in many other counties to my knowledge) and we are the only county to confirm our electronically tabulated results with a hand-counted, post-election audit. If there is a county doing more than McHenry County is, I'd like to hear about it.