SYCAMORE – Two candidates are vying for a chance to head up DeKalb County’s future elections, among the duty required for the DeKalb County Clerk & Recorder ahead of the November general election.
Doug Johnson, a Republican who’s served in the role since 2013, will not seek reelection.
For more information on these candidates, visit www.shawlocal.com/news/election.
Linh Nguyen, candidate for DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder, thinks her skills will add election security
Nguyen, who teaches chemistry at Northern Illinois University, said, she believes that most local election authority officials around the country lack the advanced technical expertise to reliably do the job.
“I think we need public offices utilizing up-to-date technology that can fight cyber security threats,” said Nguyen.
In a candidate questionnaire for Shaw Local News Network, Nguyen identified cybersecurity, accountability and transparency and voting rights as priorities should she win elected office. She said she would also seek to grow the county’s pool of election judges, a challenge the clerk’s office faced ahead of the spring 2022 primary.
Last October, DeKalb County government electronic servers were hit with a ransomware attack that left the county without email and other services for eight days.
Taking that into consideration, Nguyen said she wants to modernize the office of the County Clerk and Recorder for safety and efficiency.
“And frankly, if you beef up cybersecurity, that would prevent a future cyber attack of voting data and county records,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen, who earned a PhD in computational chemistry from Duquesne University in 2013, said if the county’s cyber apparatus appears secure and safe, then hackers could view it as an easy target. She said she believes she’s the right candidate to bring the county clerk’s ffice to the standards of the 21st century.
“My knowledge of computer systems and practices will benefit the residents of DeKalb County as I keep their data safe yet accessible,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen doesn’t have any prior experience in county government, however, after serving as the President of the League of Women Voters for DeKalb County during the 2020 election, Nguyen said she realized there was a lot of changes in policy and practice that she wanted to see happen in DeKalb County. Those ideas include using technology-based communication to improve voter education and voter turnout.
“When I pushed for changes and changes didn’t happen, I said ‘OK, fine, maybe I should be the change. Maybe I should run to implement the new vision I see for the office,’” said Nguyen.
Tasha Sims thinks her experience will help office
Tasha Sims, the Republican candidate running to be the next DeKalb County Clerk and Recorder thinks her 14 years of experience in county government offices makes her a viable option for countywide voters this November. Sims has also worked in the county clerk’s office under former County Clerk and Recorder, Sharon Holmes.
“I’m at a point in my life where I’m at a good point with my family, I’m a mother of four kids, a very supportive husband and I feel like it’s time for me to take that next step,” said Sims.
According to Sims’ campaign website, she has simultaneously served as an executive assistant to the county administrator, a secretary to the DeKalb County Board, the secretary for the county’s Public Building Commission for the past eight years and has worked with the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District.
Sims has worked in the county clerk’s office for four presidential and numerous primaries and consolidated elections. In addition to working as a Deputy Clerk, she also serves as an Executive Assistant in the County Administration office, and on top of those roles she has worked with the Forrest Preserve District and Public Building Commission.
Her work in different areas of public service is why she’s taking this foray into elected office.
“I love what I do, day in and day out, but I want to do more and I want to get back to that working with the public side,” said Sims, “and I think the clerk’s position is something I know but it’s also something I love.”
In a candidate questionnaire for Shaw Local News Network, Sims also identified voter registration and turnout as a top priority, in addition to public service and growing relationships with election judges.
Sims also says, because sometimes people will call the clerk’s office when they don’t know where information they need is, the County Recorder and Clerk position requires someone who’s well versed in the operation of local government.
“I feel like knowing how county government is inside and out, and also knowing what the different units of government throughout the county do gives me an advantage of how I can help even more people get to where they need, if it’s not the clerk’s office,” said Sims.
Sims has helped file birth and death certificates, marriages licenses, passports and other things that needed to be notarized. She says she likes that work because it gives her an opportunity to work with and serve the public.
If she were elected, Sims says her knowledge of and experience in local government, and her ability to adapt on the fly are her most important skills.
“I like to problem solve and I like to never turn anybody away, never say no,” said Sims. “It’s important to me to figure out if someone needs something, I’m going to find a way how they can get that information.”