Should Clerks of Court be elected on partisan ballots? Maryland debates the issue.

This week marks the annual meeting of the National Association for Court Management, including clerks of court and court administrators from around the nation. Among attendees are clerks of court, some elected by local voters and some appointed by the court.

While much attention has been paid to selection of judges, much activity occurred in 2011 on the subject of whether clerks should be elected and, if so, how. Bills in Arkansas (HB 1417), Maryland (HB 955), Oklahoma (HB 1307, SB 139, SB 181, SB 205, SB 327), Oregon (HB 3638), and South Carolina (HB 3134) all considering making the races for clerk of court nonpartisan elections.

The Maryland House Ways and Means Committee debated the subject on March 8 of this year, with both proponents and opponents of the bill making their cases. Video of the hearing is below.

One note on the video: Registers of wills are the clerks of Maryland Orphans‘ Courts under the state’s Constitution (Art. IV, ยง 41) and statute (Estates and Trusts Code 2-208).

Part 1 (Proponents)

Part 2 (Opponents)

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