IN THE races for Lucas County Clerk of Courts and Recorder, The Blade's polling indicated a high number of undecided voters. We believe that is the natural result of the low public profiles of these important offices rather than the quality of the candidates.
Both races have well-qualified contestants, but the outcome of the Nov. 2 election should not be in doubt. We endorse the re-election of Bernie Quilter as Clerk of Courts and the election of Anita Lopez as County Recorder.
Mr. Quilter, a Democrat, has done a quietly competent job as clerk since being appointed to the post in 1999. He was elected to his current term in 2000.
The main job of the clerk of courts is to receive and file all records of county courts and to manage the titling of motor vehicles and watercraft. Mr. Quilter has gone beyond his job description in setting up and running a pilot program to collect delinquent court costs and fines. So far, the program has recovered more than $300,000 in past-due payments.
In addition, Mr. Quilter has added passport application services at his office's four locations, and is preparing the office for electronic storage of documents. That's good government, albeit not the type that usually receives big headlines.
Mr. Quilter's Republican opponent is Theresa Gabriel, who served as clerk of Toledo Municipal Court in 2003. Ms. Gabriel is an able person by virtue of her long career in Toledo city government but she fails to make a compelling case for unseating Mr. Quilter.
The office of recorder will get a new occupant, replacing Sue Rioux, who is retiring after 13 years. We believe that person should be Ms. Lopez, currently an elected member of the Toledo Public Schools board and director of Affirmative Action and Contract Compliance for the city of Toledo.
A lawyer, Ms. Lopez already is well acquainted with the recorder's office, the repository for a variety of legal documents, including mortgages, liens, leases, and uniform commercial code filings. Moreover, she seems ready to take the office's work to the next level, which means electronic filing and digital recording.
Her Republican opponent, Melanie Perz, is making her first run for public office and, judging from the energy she is putting into the race, it won't be her last.