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By Steve Zalusky

Voters are leaning toward merging the office of the Lake County recorder into the Lake County clerk’s office by Dec. 1, 2022, according to unofficial totals Tuesday night.

Available totals from Lake County showed 37,075 (61.81%) in favor and 22,906 (38.19%) against eliminating the recorder’s office.

Recorder of Deeds Mary Ellen Vanderventer, who has held office for 24 years and before that worked in the clerk’s office, was optimistic about a seamless transition.

“All the duties remain the same,” said Democrat Vanderventer, who was trailing her opponent, Republican Emilia Czyszczon, late Tuesday.

“It will just have a different figurehead. I have great faith in the history of what we were and I have great faith in the future,” Vanderventer said. “The goal would be that everything happens behind the scenes and nobody will even be the wiser as we go forward.”

She said she is not surprised by the available results.

“I really thought it would be at least 2-to-1,” she said, citing sentiment in favor of consolidating government.

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Czyszczon was pleased with the early results.

“I basically ran my entire campaign on the platform of eliminating the recorder’s office and consolidating it with the clerk’s office,” Czyszczon said.

In educating people about the referendum, she said, “the only people that actually knew anything about the office were real estate attorneys, and that’s about it. People were very shocked that we still have an office like this, when most counties in Illinois do not.”

Czyszczon, who was leading 37,503 to 30,000, said, “There was a lot of support regardless of party affiliation to merge the two offices.”

“If it hadn’t passed, I would try again in two years for the next election cycle, but it would be kind of a bummer if we would be on the tail end of being one of the last counties with an independent office,” she said.

• In other referendums, the village of Lake Zurich’s bid to increase the local sales tax by 0.5% appeared headed for defeat.

Available totals showed 1,444 votes against the proposition, as opposed to 535 votes in favor.

The money raised would go to rebuild the Paulus Park Barn, as well as other village projects, such as improving Fire Station No. 1, which was built 38 years ago.

• Voters in Ela Township are indicating they favor getting rid of the Ela Township road district. The district’s responsibilities, as well as its liabilities, would be assumed by the township.

The referendum to abolish the district had tallied 2,365 yes votes to 1,968 nays.

In addition, the elected highway commissioner position would be eliminated.

• The Antioch Public Library’s request to issue $9.6 million in bonds to repair, remodel and expand its building was losing by 1,388 to 1,275. It was the first time the library, which turns 100 years old next year, has gone to referendum for funds solely dedicated to a building project.

The project would offer expanded space for children, a dedicated teen room, more study rooms, a work area to support small businesses and home-based workers, studio space for hands-on projects, a fireplace reading room and coffee area.

A posting late Tuesday on the county clerk’s website said early voting, vote by mail, provisional ballots and late-arriving mail ballots are not included in vote totals.

Mail-in ballot requests totaled 170,232. Of those, 111,114 were returned and 59,118 were not.

This content was originally published here.