The county clerk’s office is similar to grand central station for all county business, the Franklin County clerk said at the First Friday Forum at Neosho County Community College.
“So many areas affected by the county clerk within county government,” county clerk Janet Paddock said. “The job is a little bit different every day and throughout the year. That is a lot of fun. This job is so rewarding.”
Paddock hit the highlights of each year, including governing over the election. Paddock said the first part of the year is making changes to the tax roll and helping retired residents prepare for homestead tax refunds.
In the middle of the year, her office is busy with election filings, preparing the tax roll changes coming into the appraiser’s office.
At the end of the year, the office is busy with the election and finalizing the tax rolls for the treasurer.
Other duties include being the secretary for the county commissioners.
“I do all their minutes, those are on file from the 1800s in my office,” Paddock said. “We are accounts payable for all departments in the county. We are working with every single area in our county government.”
Other items the office does are sell fish and game licenses and prepare budgets for all small tax entities in the county.
“We do six fire districts, 16 townships, nine cemetery districts. one watershed and drainage district,” Paddock said. “We do those free of charge.”
Paddock said the county clerk’s office is the checks and balances for the treasurer’s office.
“We do a second set of books for the treasurer’s office to make sure everything they do is accurate,” she said. “We work with all the other county offices on their budgets. We process all their account payables.”
Elections take up a lot of their time.
“It happens over the course of an entire year,” she said. “We follow a year-long election calendar. It is very detailed and we follow all our legal dates that we have to meet, including publications and reporting we have to do.”
Paddock gave examples from the 2018 elections why every vote counts and can make a difference. She said there was 343 votes that separated Jeff Colyer and Kris Kobach in the primary for the Republican nomination for governor. She said that averages out to three votes per county.
In the same election for county commission, the race between Don Stottlemire and Randy Renoud was separated by two votes, 421-419.
“When they say ‘every vote counts’ that is a perfect example right there that every vote does count,” Paddock said. “It is your right to vote. It is your responsibilities as a [resident]. It is your chance to choose leaders and hold them accountable for their actions.”
Paddock said there are 18,188 registered voters as of today in the county with 9,163 registered as Republicans, 3,706 as Democrats, 5,116 as unaffiliated voters and 203 in the Libertarian Party.
She said there are just three qualifications to register: be 18 on or before election day, be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Kansas.
“We only cancel registrations for very few reasons: death, felonies, and if you have made a confirmed move out of the county and we have received word of that,” Paddock said. “We are required by law to watch the obituaries.”
One other tidbit was between June 1 and Sept. 1, registered voters can’t change their party affiliation.