Candidate profile: Debbie Ming-Mendoza

Get ready for the 2018 Election

Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.
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Voters in Belleville and Southern Illinois have several important decisions to make on Nov. 6.

Name: Debbie Ming-Mendoza

Party: Democrat Party

Age: 63

City of residence: Granite City

Website: None

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running because I am committed to public service. I am committed to ensuring the office of Madison County Clerk continues to run with a high degree of professionalism, transparency and integrity – in the tradition of my predecessors and role models Evelyn Bowles and Eulalia Hotz. I am committed to ensuring the voting process in Madison County continues to be conducted fairly, independently and accurately. I am committed to implementing the latest and best practices in cyber security to protect voter data and our election process. I believe the residents of Madison County hold their elected officials to a high standard and every day I walk through the doors of the Madison County Clerk’s office, I am committed to living up to those standards.

The most important job of a county clerk is to ensure the integrity of our voting system. Since 2012, I have overseen eight successful elections unmarred by any controversy and found by the Illinois State Board of Elections to be accurate.

My office has critical safeguards in place to protect against vote fraud, including purging voter files every two years and including bi-partisan observers and election judges at polling places and in my office through the final vote count.

We also have been proactive about putting into place cyber security best practices, working closely with Homeland Security and the Illinois State Police Cyber Security Unit for training and information sharing. Since 2014, my office has only used paper ballots – the safest method for preventing a ballot from being hacked. We also only use encrypted software and do not use any election equipment connected to an outside network.

I have fought to protect access to the polling place for all voters. I successfully took a stand against budget cuts by the current administration that would have gutted early voting in some areas.

My office is run with a mission to provide the best customer service to the citizens of Madison County. For me and for my staff, this is more than a job we go to every morning and clock out at the end of the day. We know the folks that come to our office, some who have been coming for years, some who are the next generation. We deal with families from birth, to marriage and sadly, the passing of a loved one. We work together as a family and we always have each other’s back.

I am proud to stand by my record in office and by the quality of work performed by my team in the County Clerk’s Office.

What qualifications do you have for this position? I have six years experience running the County Clerk’s Office and have overseen eight successful elections. I know how to develop a budget, and I certainly know how to read and interpret a budget and how to live within that budget. I run an extremely efficient and professional office, staffed with experienced men and women. I love what I do and I know every detail of how this office runs. I’m not a back office person, I sit out front, I work the desk and talk to our “customers.” I am deeply committed to protecting the vote of every citizen in Madison County – from outside hacking and from any attempt to limit access to voting.

I am proud to have earned a reputation for integrity, independence and for setting the bar high for myself and my staff – who are the hardest working, most dedicated and loyal people I know!

What is the biggest issue facing the Clerk’s Office? How would you handle it? U.S. Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen has repeatedly warned of hacking of our election process and that is the biggest issue my office faces. I’m very proud of the fact that I was FOUR years ahead of Homeland Security’s direction to election officials on the use paper ballots. My office is well-prepared, well-trained and ready to defend our election process.

Should the recorder’s office and clerk’s office be combined? Why? In my role as County Clerk, I do not take positions on ballot measures. It would be inappropriate. But, speaking as a candidate and a citizen, I support this proposition. I think if there are ways we can make government more efficient and save taxpayer dollars in a way that does not sacrifice services, we certainly should do so.

If the people decide to combine these offices, my professional team is fully prepared to work with the Recorder’s team to makes this a seamless transition. The Recorder’s Office is comprised of an excellent, experienced staff and I am confident that we can integrate the two offices in a way that ensures a high level of customer service to the people of Madison County.