Harris County electing new county clerk

Ann Harris Bennett and Stan Stanart are two fo the candidates vying to be the next Harris County clerk

October 22, 2010 4:30:54 PM PDT
If you've gotten married, had a baby or bought a house, you probably have a piece of paper with the county clerk's signature on it. From marriage licenses to property records, the county clerk is in charge of keeping the records for a lot of people. And, as a voter, you pick the person for the job. The county clerk is toward the bottom on Harris County's lengthy ballot, but it is a job that is critical to elections and county record keeping. And for the first time in more than three decades, an incumbent is not in the running.

Ann Harris Bennett wants to be Harris County's clerk.

"I feel like I have something to contribute," she said.

She worked in the legal community for 27 years as a secretary and researcher and wants to replace longtime clerk Beverly Kaufman, who is retiring from public office.

"I am the only candidate that is in this race that is not getting in the race to use this office for political gain," Bennett told us.

Stan Stanart is running for the same office.

"There's no room for error," he said. "You gotta be 99.999999 percent accurate in everything that we do."

A longtime IT manager, he knows the job is not on the top of voters' minds.

"It's way down the ballot," said Stanart. "We're below the judges and everything. That's why we got everybody to vote all the way down the ballot."

The clerk is a big job. Not only does the clerk administer all county elections, but is also in charge of keeping all county records for commissioners court, legal records, as well as county civil and probate courts.

It's a job whose importance was no more evident than when a fire destroyed all of the county's voting machines. It was Kaufman and her team who made sure the county could procure enough machines in time for the midterm election.

Both candidates say they want to update technology in the office and implement electronic filing. Both believe they are the right person to fill the vacant spot and become only the county's fourth clerk in more than three decades.

"My reputation in the community, the legal community, is one of being fair, transparent," said Bennett.

"The budget is very tight in Harris County right now," said Stanart. "We need technology to supplement, to make us more efficient."

There is a third candidate running for Harris County clerk. Con Cook is the Green Party candidate, but his campaign did not reply to our repeated attempts to contact him.

Before you head to the polls, make sure to check our voters guide to find your polling location and county voting information.


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