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CLARK COUNTY — The two candidates facing off for the Clark County Clerk's office both say they want to protect the security of the vote, implement technology that will improve the office and maintain a positive experience for taxpayers.

Susan Popp, incumbent, Democrat, is in her first term as Clark County Clerk; she previously served on the Clark County Council.

Darci Schiller, Republican, is a provider analyst for a Fortune 100 insurance company and nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College.

WHY THEY'RE RUNNING

Popp said she wants to give back and make a difference in the lives of community members, improving technology so taxpayers have access to information whether in person, online or by email or phone. She said she also wants to continue to improve voters' accessibility.

"I strive to create a positive customer experience and getting it right the first time," Popp said. "As promised, I will continue to operate the Voter Registration office in a nonpartisan manner."

Popp said she also wants to continue to help streamline court document processing, to help the increasingly busy Clark County courts manage their caseloads. She said she will continue to work with the secretary of state and the Indiana Election Division to help secure machines and voting, and will seek security grants through the Help America Vote Act.

"Administering secure elections without outside interference is a priority," Popp said.

Schiller said she wants to use the skills she's gained in her current job, which include customer service, administrative duties, and dealing with court documents and medical files, to improve the clerk's office. She also wants to seek funding opportunities to help secure the vote, such as applying for a grant that would have security features for the voting machines while in storage.

"One thing I can promise is I'm going to try my hardest to save taxpayer money and secure their votes even more," Schiller said.

She also wants to have "taxpayer-focused customer service," giving them quick and friendly service when they walk in the door.

"Whenever someone walks in that door, I can guarantee that customer will be satisfied when they leave," she said.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Schiller said during her campaign, she's sought chances to learn more about what the clerk's office does — through job shadowing other counties and talking with the Indiana secretary of state.

"I've taken this very seriously," Schiller said. "Those are the steps I've taken ... getting to know the processes, the ins and outs, the things you actually have to know."

Popp said among the biggest tasks she's undertaken while in office is helping usher in Clark County as the second of 92 counties in the state to go to electronic filing of court documents. She and her staff also created voter registration and clerk's office websites that give the public access to information and court forms.

"It was important to me that Clark County take the lead and become one of the first counties in the state to E-file," Popp said. "We now have a clerk's office that is open 24/7."

She said she also has implemented the use of iPads to check in voters at polling locations and modernized payment systems — traffic tickets now can be paid online and court fees can be paid with credit cards.

GOALS IF ELECTED

Popp said that if she's re-elected, she will continue the discussion about Clark County moving to vote centers — satellite voting locations throughout the county that would make it more convenient for voters to get to the polls.

She also wants to continue securing votes, "making sure every vote counts," Popp said.

She has plans to continue working to preserve county court records and marriage licenses, archiving all historical information for future generations. She also will continue to work with judges, magistrates and the prosecutor on the flow of information and documents, she said.

Schiller said she wants to not only protect the integrity of the vote and improve technologies, but make sure voters are educated on how to use the technology.

"I'm huge on education," she said. "Human nature is if you don't know it or don't understand it, it's scary. I really want to get out there to the taxpayers and offer them something that's more efficient, but not to be scared [of]."

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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