Please forgive me this election-related post. But I just can’t keep quiet any more. There are very important matters at stake in this upcoming election and you need to make an informed decision about the person who will have such a profound impact on our future. The stakes have never been higher than they are now and most people are ill-informed about the candidates.
That’s right. I’m talking about the County Clerk election.
I am not sure how it works in other countries, but here in the USA, the person who oversees much of the daily workings of the county court system is an elected position. Most of us probably don’t even know who our county clerk is. The only thing I could tell you about my county clerk is that he replaced someone who was run out of office for calling in sick about 3 out of every 4 days. But that gives you a sense of how little attention we pay to the county clerk. The only time we take notice is when you fail so miserably at even showing up for the job.
But I am learning this year there is one very important thing that county clerks have authority over: Adoptions.
And this is how I’ve learned first-hand how important it is to elect the right people to this job. And by right people, I basically mean people who understand and are willing to follow the law. Because there is nothing really unusual about our adoption situation. Our lawyer is completely perplexed because there is nothing he sees about our case that would cause anyone to flag it or give it any closer look than any other adoption case. Everything that has happened has clearly followed the law, not even dropping into any gray areas. But yet not one, but two county clerks (in different counties) seem unable to understand what is going on with our situation.
Our first encounter with county clerks happened when my son was just a few days old and the county clerk refused to deal with us at all, making us unable to leave the state even though we had passed ICPC. Well, we eventually got a county to accept our petition, but now the clerk is worried about how the birthfather was served. The lawyer is trying to convince that it was completely acceptable (which it was-no gray area). But the worst case scenario is that the county clerk require us to serve him AGAIN. Which would mean another 30 days of being on pins and needles wondering what will happen.
County clerks are elected officials. The only way they are held accountable is at the ballot box. There are guidelines they are supposed to follow and this little thing called the law that should be the foundation of everything they do. But as long as they keep getting elected, they can do whatever they want.
So the next time an election for county clerk comes along, be sure you do your homework and vote for the most qualified candidate. Don’t skip over it to focus on the more high profile posts like president, Congress, or mayor (I’ll admit to being guilty of that in the past). Who you elect as county clerk can have real implications for families.