About the Champaign County Recorder of Deeds:
If you don’t follow county level government very closely, you might not have a lot of knowledge about what a recorder actually does. It’s one of those races that shows up on your ballot and you fill in a bubble, not really knowing the candidates or what sort of office you are electing them to.
At its most basic level, according to the website, “the Champaign County Recorder of Deeds serves the people of Champaign County by receiving, filing and maintaining all records related to real property in our county.” Seems pretty straightforward. The recorder handles records.
The recorder race is unique this year. Democrat Mike Ingram is challenging the incumbent, Republican Mark Sheldon. Ingram, if elected, plans to eliminate the position and transfer the duties to the Champaign County Clerk’s office. Sheldon would keep the position, but make it one that is appointed rather than elected.
Ingram is currently a Champaign County Board member representing District 6. He’s a musician that is also involved in multiple aspects of the local music scene as a producer and promoter. He serves on the boards of 40 North and the C-U One to One Mentoring Program.
Here is what he has to say about running to eliminate the position, from his campaign website, where you can read more about this plan:
One thing that has been noted in several articles and studies of the issue was that the move could be (or was) viewed as a partisan attack on the current officeholder. To alleviate this potential pitfall (and the potential for a resentful officeholder leading the transition), electing someone who is in favor of the dissolution of the office seems wise. Plus there’s a certain amount of putting your money where your mouth is. I think there are better things that ~$100,000 a year could be spent on to actually make the lives of county residents better, and I’m willing to run for an office I’m hoping to dissolve to make it happen.
Mark Shelden was elected as Recorder of Deeds in 2016. He served as Champaign County Clerk for 14 years. He has also been Chief of Staff for former Congressman Tim Johnson, and had a technology and political consulting business. From his website:
In the last 4 years, we have opened up more avenues for electronic recording, more than doubling the documents received that way. We have expanded our efforts to protect home owners from property fraud. We’ve increased the number of paper documents that have been moved to digital. We’ve integrated our data with other county offices to provide a higher level of service to county property owners. Last year, we worked with the Cunningham Township Assessor to get over 100 senior citizens a tax exemption that they were missing out on.
I am running for reelection to Recorder because I want to continue these efforts and to expand them.
Here is their recent Candidate Forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters, NAACP of Champaign County, The News-Gazette, and WILL.
Editor’s note: We spelled Mark Shelden’s name incorrectly in the original post. It has since been corrected. We apologize for the mistake.