What is a county clerk?

Published 1:53 pm Monday, February 19, 2018

When it comes to local government, one position can vary greatly depending on the population of the county or city they serve. That position is the county clerk.

According to a report from the National Association of Counties, the clerk is one of the oldest governmental positions in human history — dating back all the way to ancient Greece. The word clerk stems from the Latin word “clericus” which meant that a person could keep records in an official capacity from reading, writing and serving as a notary.

In essence, the job has virtually remained the same since then. A county clerk is responsible for keeping all kinds of records filed away. These include such things as birth, death and marriage certificates. One of the most interesting aspects of the county clerk’s job is that depending on the size of the population they serve, they take on more responsibilities. In a larger, more metropolitan area, a clerk is essentially a record keeper. While in a small populated area, the county clerk takes on more duties.

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If a clerk operates in a smaller population, they may give county IDs, file licenses for local businesses or doctors, file deeds, process passport applications and they can even officiate at weddings if the need arises.

Depending on the state and county, a clerk also oversees local elections. They also file the minutes of official meetings of the courts.

The county clerk is one of the most varied and it appears, challenging, positions of local government. They are the record keepers of virtually all the pertinent information of a county and its citizens.

Candidates for Harlan County Clerk in the upcoming primary election include incumbent Donna G. Hoskins, Russell Huff and Greg Shanks who are seeking the Democrat nomination for the office. Shawn Brent Miller and John Clem Jr. are running for the Republican nomination.

Information for this article found at https://people.howstuffworks.com/government/local-politics/county-clerk.htm and http://www.naco.org/sites/default/files/documents/Role%20of%20the%20County%20Clerk.pdf.