Madison County Circuit Clerk Mark von Nida announced that he will not seek reelection next year.
“I was elected chairman of the Democratic Party in 2016 and will be devoting all of my time to getting Democrats elected to office in Illinois,” von Nida stated in a press release.
“As soon as I accepted the position of chairman of the party, I made the decision not to seek reelection,” he added. “I see many opportunities for people to participate in both the party and to run for elected office. And, I hope we will see major changes in the direction of our county and country in the coming years.”
Von Nida was first elected circuit clerk in 2012.
During his time as circuit clerk, von Nida digitized court records, computerized traffic tickets and reworked the process for electronically filing court cases.
His responsibilities as circuit clerk include maintaining records for the court system, collecting and distributing fines and court fees and notifying participants of court proceedings.
Another responsibility of the circuit clerk and his office is scheduling hearings. This responsibility was thrown into the spotlight after former U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton was allowed to keep his driving privileges while his second DUI case is pending due to a scheduling error.
Von Nida took responsibility for the error after a clerk scheduled a hearing on Wigginton’s statutory summary suspension beyond the 30-day window. Asa result, Associate Judge Jennifer Hightower rescinded the statutory summary suspension for Wigginton on March 7.
Von Nida previously said the scheduling error affected a total of six DUI cases. In addition to Wigginton’s case, two of those cases were still able to be corrected, and three were sent to the State’s Attorney’s office to notify them of the mistake, he said.
He added that this was the first time the circuit clerk’s office has made a scheduling error for a statutory summary suspension hearing since his election in 2012.
During von Nida's 30-year career in Madison County government, von Nida started as a correctional officer with the Madison County Detention Facility. He then worked as an office administrator and press liaison for former State’s Attorney Bill Haine.
“He started as my office manager and did a brilliant job,” Haine stated. “In the early 90s in which we had to rebuild the administration of justice in the county, which was in complete disarray.”
“Bill would make a decision in the morning and it would be implemented by the afternoon, “ von Nida stated.
After 14 years as State’s Attorney, Haine then served from 2002 to 2016 as state senator for Illinois’ 56th District.
In 1997, von Nida was appointed Madison County Clerk and was reelected four times. As county clerk, von Nida was responsible for all elections held in the county.
During his time as County Clerk, von Nida initiated the Ballot Defect Detection system, which was later adopted by the state of Illinois. He also developed an invention to help guarantee ballot secrecy while voting using a paper ballot. His invention enabled the ballot to be read by an electronic tabulator. He was awarded a U.S. patent for the invention, and royalties go to the citizens of Madison County.
Von Nida also served as president of the Illinois Association of County Officials in 2012 and 2013, where he worked with officials throughout the state to create standards of conduct and provide training related to public office.
“Mark went out of his way to help me out,” stated Scott Erickson, Knox County Clerk and current IACO president. “He took me under wing and served as a great sounding board and member to me. Helped get me into leadership.”
Von Nida also held a variety of other positions. He served as a board member on the National Association of Clerks, Election Officials and Recorders (NACRC), co-chaired the Elections Interest Group and served as a member of the Joint Election Official Legislative Conference, which advises Congress on election laws.
Von Nida is a U.S. Navy veteran and graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 1985.