Tuesday, November 6, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough during the 2012 Democratic National Convention. | Bloomberg
Since 1999 — when the late Eugene Moore was tapped by Cook County Democratic heavyweights like John Stroger, Jr. and John Daley to finish out Jesse White’s term as Cook County Recorder of Deeds after White was elected Illinois Secretary of State — a Maywood resident has helmed the recorder’s office.
In November 2016, around two-thirds of voters in the county voted in favor of consolidating the recorder’s office with that of the Cook County Clerk. Now, it’s up to Moore’s successor, Maywood resident Karen Yarbrough, to preside over the historic merger.
Yarbrough ran unopposed for the clerk’s position during Tuesday’s election, garnering more than a million votes on her way to becoming the first female, the first African American and the first suburban resident to hold the clerk’s seat. She’ll replace longtime county clerk David Orr.
On Oct. 25, Yarbrough outlined some of her plans and priorities for the clerk’s job for members of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club at Meal of the Day Cafe in Maywood.
“This office tells the story of the people of Cook County and Chicago,” Yarbrough said of the clerk’s office. “We hold the records of birth, death and marriage. We’re also the election authority for the entire county. And when the recorder’s office merges with the clerk’s office, then we’ll take on the land records.”
Yarbrough said that in the run-up to her election to the county clerk’s position, she met with incumbent Orr, along with a number of clerks of suburban municipalities, such as Maywood Clerk Viola Mims, in order to get a feel for the office and its responsibilities.
Yarbrough said that “cyber-security is probably one of the most important issues we’re facing.”
She said that she’ll preside over the introduction of new optical scan paper voting machines and the implementation of a new cashiering system in the clerk’s office.
“People want paper ballots,” she said. “They want to know that whatever they’re punching, they can take that ballot and it counts. People feel better with paper. They do. Until we do something differently or something else happens, we’re going to have paper ballots.”
Yarbrough also said that she’s excited to extend the possibilities of blockchain to the clerk’s office.
Blockchain, according to an article in Harvard Business Review, is “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”
Yarbrough said that the distributed ledger technology makes bitcoin, the world’s first Internet currency, possible.
In 2016, the recorder’s office participated in a blockchain pilot program to test how the technology could benefit government.
The pilot program demonstrated that blockchain could possibly be a more efficient, more secure alternative to paper-based data storage of land records.
From 2001 until 2013, when she became recorder, Yarbrough represented the 7th District in the Illinois House of Representatives. VFP
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