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Democrats To Challenge McLean County Clerk

Pat Peterson

Democrats plan to mount a challenge next year to Republican McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael. Nikita Richards has announced she is running as a progressive.
Richards said Michael was not pro-active in heading off long voter waiting lines in the 2016 election cycle.

"My opponent claims that there was no way that her office could be prepared for the 2016 election. I would argue that simply showed her inefficiency to run the office as such. She was warned. She knew very well about the voter turnout and the possible increase," said Richards.

Richards said Michael did not push for the change on her own even after the wait times became an issue.

"Her decision to finally get on board only came after she received much grief from the youth in our community, from the academic community, from those youth who would not take no for an answer," said Richards.
Michael had said at the time, the impact of same day voter registration could not have been anticipated. The County Board later granted Michael a budget increase to prevent future hours long waiting times at ISU polling places.

Richards said she wants to bring a sense of urgency to certain issues. She wants to review the polling place list. She said she would rigorously monitor ADA standards and make sure sight impaired people have the required machines. She said sometimes people have had to have ballots read to them. Richards said that is unacceptable.

Richards said she would be willing to look into merging the County Clerk election operation with the Bloomington Election Commission for efficiency, but is not ready to commit on that issue or which way it could go.

Richards has been in the Bloomington Normal Community for about 15 years. She has been the clerk of the  court for Administrative Court in McLean County and is now the Employment Coordinator for the City of Bloomington.

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WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.