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June 1, 2018 – Experience and training — that’s what this job requires.
Two decades ago, the revered clerk-recorder of Nevada County, Bruce Bolinger, retired. The department had run smoothly throughout his nearly two decades-long tenure.
Subsequent elections resulted in a succession of inexperienced, untrained persons leading the department. One served only one week. Within a few years, chaos ensued. Things got so bad by 2007 that the Board of Supervisors stepped in, the elected clerk-recorder stepped down, and the board asked me to come in and rescue the department on an emergency basis.
I accepted the challenge, restored order and for the past decade, under my leadership, the department has run smoothly, efficiently and without unsolved problems. In short, no drama. County voters agreed, electing me twice to head the office.
Clerk-recorder is a simplified description of this office and the extensive requirements that must be fulfilled. We spend most of the election cycle talking about our complex voting system but safeguarding personal and business records — while processing them expeditiously and safely — is also a big part of the job.
I began learning the complexities of the Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters duties and responsibilities nearly 28 years ago. Since that time, I have continually trained, taking courses and attending workshops to keep abreast of this ever-changing field. Just this spring I was asked to be a featured speaker — not once, but twice — at the statewide Future of California Voting conference. In the next election we will be one of just five counties fully utilizing the California Voters’ Choice Act to guarantee that our elections are open to all qualified citizens, will make voting easy to accomplish for every voter, and will assure that our elections are secure and efficient.
I also was elected President of the County Recorders’ Association of California in 2015 for a two-year term.
This endorsement by my peers validates what I — and the talented staff I have trained — have accomplished. Our carefully-planned and researched actions give us a seat at the table in the office of the Secretary of State for all future developments, not just for elections, but also for all other aspects of this important office.
I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have enjoyed from voters here in the county in the past. But my pledge is that I will continue to address the challenges of the ever-changing intricacies of this job. The regular audits of our office by state and county authorities, which we have always passed with flying colors, will continue to get A+ grades — and continuing value for county residents. A vote for me assures honest, secure, efficient elections will continue.
Question: Should Nevada County have pushed the change to all vote-by-mail for the June election?
Yes. Here are some of the reasons: 1. A high percentage, 78%, of Nevada County voters already vote by mail; 2. Because we are a rural county, in the past we had to set up and staff 49 separate polling stations, a costly, time-consuming operation; 3. Combining our number of those who vote by mail with the low number of voters who actually vote at polling stations make this a logical, money-saving step for our county. Under the new law, voters will have greater choices on how, when and where they vote. The purchase of new voting equipment, which will take place in time for the 2020 presidential elections, will save the County going forward at least one million dollars ($1,000,000). More importantly, this new model will increase election integrity, accessibility and voter turnout.
Question: What changes, if any, need to be made in the clerk-recorder’s office?
Under my leadership, we are upgrading our ten (10) year old recording system, which will enhance our indexing requirements and allow us to begin recording documents electronically. This will benefit both lenders and consumers. I also have provided substantial justification to add a full-time employee to our election staff to handle the ever-increasing workload, especially with our post-election audits, which is a valuable safeguard to protect the integrity of our elections.