What Does a County Clerk Do?

A county clerk is an elected or appointed official who oversees all elections and serves as the chief clerk of the county court system, among other responsibilities. He or she is in charge of keeping birth, marriage, and death records, as well as legal publications. The county clerk also acts as secretary to the county commission, setting the agenda, recording minutes and votes, and assisting commissioners with administrative tasks.

A clerk maintains voter registration rolls and registers new voters as the chief election officer. He or she is in charge of collecting fees and financial disclosure reports from candidates seeking public office. The clerk is in charge of appointing, recruiting, and training election workers, as well as keeping track of ballots, voting equipment, and polling locations. When citizens submit petitions to recall a public official or ballot initiatives, the clerk follows state and federal law in handling the documents.

In some counties, particularly those that are small or rural, the clerk also serves as the county recorder. Depending on the size of the county, this position may handle hundreds or thousands of documents per day. Every document is regularly copied and archived on microfilm for long-term storage. Property records are made available to the public upon request the county clerk/recorder.

The clerk/recorder is in charge of all recorded land transfers, foreclosures, and trust deeds. After a property is sold or a lien is filed against it, he or she has frequent contact with title companies and banks. The county clerk/recorder collects all recording fees and forwards them to the comptroller’s office. In most counties, the clerk compiles an annual report detailing all of the office’s activities.

The duties of the county clerk, who is also the chief court clerk, can be more varied. This individual could file court cases and attend court hearings. He or she has the authority to sign warrants, judgments, or court orders, as well as keep divorce records. The clerk manages and supervises other employees at the county courthouse, as well as hiring and firing them.

Some county clerks are responsible for keeping tax records. In addition to mailing tax and assessment documents to property owners, they maintain tax rolls and monitor special assessments. Collecting and recording property tax payments from citizens is one of the responsibilities of this position.

A county clerk’s responsibilities differ region, but they may include processing passport and homestead applications. Some clerks are in charge of keeping track of the county’s assets and preparing debt reports. He or she may also be in charge of keeping track of all claims and lawsuits filed against the county.