Two Democrats Vying to Challenge for County Clerk Seat

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 08/04 2014 09:43PM

Updated 08/04 2014 10:58PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Two democrats are running in the primary election Tuesday for the right to face incumbent County Clerk Mary Baack-Garvey.

While running elections is one of the primary jobs of the county clerk, lifelong St. Joseph resident Jill Carson wants to use her 11 years of experience in the Platte County Clerk's office to improve customer service in the office.

"We were such a friendly office in Platte County and it was so satisfying to help everybody that came in, whether it was with county records or things on the agenda," she said.

Carson says, if elected, the Buchanan County Clerk's office will be the people's office.

"If I get voted in, I work for them," said Carson. "They are my boss and I want to do everything in my power. You will never hear, I can't help you, I don't know."

One way Carson thinks better customer service can be accomplished is through offering free notary services out of the clerk's office.

"The County Clerk's office swears in the notary's on behalf of the Secretary of State's office and I'm dumbfounded that there's not a notary there," she said. "They all get sent to the bank."

Meanwhile, her opponent, Alec Jennings, is making elections his priority.

"If I'm county clerk, I want to actively be out there in the community and actively recruiting and training registrars," Jennings said. "I want to be actively making sure that voters have the information they need to have their voice heard on election day."

Jennings has ten years of public relations experience, including working for both the City of Kansas City and the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Jennings has been critical of what he says was the rushed process last year when the clerk's office closed polling locations at schools.

"Neighborhoods lose their identity when they lose a polling place that may have been there for years," he said. "Studies do show that it cuts down on voter turnout."

Jennings has also spoken out about how the clerk's office handled the ambulance tax vote earlier this year. That's when around 750 voters incorrectly did not have the issue included on their ballots.

"Whether that was an error to allow those folks to vote or not on that issue," Jennings said. "I think it's a serious thing and we need to look at that closer."

The polls open tomorrow at 6 a.m. and stay open until 7 p.m.

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