Name: Debbie Cox (Incumbent)


Office Seeking: Ford County Clerk


Party: Republican


Age as of Nov. 3: 59


Occupation: Ford County Clerk


Education: Some College


Top Three Priorities if elected


— To continue to improve voter turnout.


— To continue to educate people on the way the elections work, as to why ballots are different and how precincts are created.


— To continue to provide public service for all residents of Ford County.


Why are you the best candidate for the county clerk position?


I have over 14 years of experience in the county clerk’s office. working every position from voter registration clerk, accounts payable, to setting levy’s. I was appointed to county clerk to begin in 2016 and elected in 2016 by the voters of Ford County. I love working for the public and being able to help answer their questions. I have completed a three-year course for county clerks, to become a Certified County Clerk and have started the Master’s program for county clerks. I take my responsibilities very seriously in all duties of the clerk not just elections. I put in the time that it takes to get the job complete. The county clerks job is not a 9 to 5 job. There is more to the county clerk’s position than elections.


The 2018 election cycle made national news regarding election locations, what would you do to ensure easier access to the polls for all residents?


There is a law to create Vote Centers, that as soon as the Secretary of State sets the rules and regulations, I will be implementing. The voters in Ford County will then be able to go to any of the five polling locations in Ford County to vote on Election Day. That will not limit them to just the polling place they are assigned to. The Security of the Elections are top priority of the Secretary of State and myself to provide a safe and secure election for all. This will provide the voter access to polling locations that may not be as busy at certain times. It will help to ease the wait time. I am not opposed to opening more polling locations, with more locations more equipment must be purchased and volunteers, that will be needed for those locations, which will increase expenses for the county budget. I strongly encourage people to request their ballot by mail. We have a very secure process in Kansas of receiving a ballot by mail. They have time to study what and who is on the ballot. They do not have to leave the comfort of their home. I also encourage people to vote early in office. It is fast and easy and just like going to the polls on election day.


Voting numbers in the county have been down in recent years, what would you do to get more people to vote?


We start in office advance voting two weeks before the election which is when the law states we can start. I have started having evening voting hours for advance voting to help people who work as well as Saturday voting hours. This General Election we will have three evenings and two Saturday advance voting options. I will continue to encourage people to received their ballot by mail. With a ballot by mail they can take their time and vote from the comfort of their home and study the people on the ballot. I would like to see more vote for the local elections. People need to realize that the local city and school elections are just as important as the state and national elections. Those effect their taxes just as much or more than the state and national elections, for that is who is running their schools and cities. When clerks plan an election we plan for every registered voter to show up. It is disappointing to us to not have a good turnout. We continue to look for ways to improve voter turnout.


How would you assist county officials in being more proactive in the community?


The county officials in Ford County have a very good working relationship. Each one is available to assist anytime there is a need. County officials are always available to answer questions of the citizen of Ford County.


With the many duties of a county clerk, how would you best organize your workload?


The county clerk’s office is ran by statutes from the state of Kansas. Every duty has a time line that must be followed. Everything from abstracts that are to be sent to the state, to deadlines to get levy’s set. Plus the deadlines for elections that fall at the same time as some of the abstracts that are to be done. I have found you work in that time frame as it comes and work the hours needed to complete the task. If it takes evenings and weekends you work evenings and weekends to meet the deadline. Because some of the deadlines overlap and cannot be completed in a 8 to 5 work schedule, late nights and weekends are worked to meet the deadlines. Every County Clerk puts in many hours to meet the challenges of the deadlines that come with the job.


How would you best serve the community in your role?


I best serve the community by being available to answer questions they may have. If it is something that I do not know about I will still try to help get them to the place that will be able to help them. I am always available to speak to groups on elections or if it is something else that they might want to know and I can help them with I will. I continue to educate myself to be up to date with election laws and what can be done to help the voter. I then can educate the voter with the election laws. I am always educating myself in order to help the community in the duties of the county clerk.


Outside of an election year, what is the primary responsibility of this office?


A sided from having an election every year. We must also be able to set up a special election if requested. Some years we have had as many as 6 elections in a year. The clerk’s duties are listed nearly 1,000 times in the Kansas Statutes. Outside of elections the clerk is required to attend all sessions for the County Commission meetings to record minutes, compose minutes, and archive the minutes. File the annual Statement of Outstanding Bonds. Work with all County Taxing Entities, to assist with their budgets. Set and certify levies annually. July and November Abstract Certification to KDOR-PVD. The November Abstract comes the same time as elections. Set Tax Unit Boundary Certification and prepare tax unit map for County Appraiser, PVD, and State Assessed Public Utilities. Motor Vehicle Abstract Certification annually. Act as the Freedom of Information Officer. The Clerk’s office is a checks and balance with the Treasurer’s office on a daily, monthly and yearly time frame. The clerks issues Moving Permits, CMB licenses. Fireworks permits. We also help eligible taxpayers with filing of Homestead claims. We work with the Townships to set up their budgets and annual reports. These are just a few of the ongoing duties of the County Clerk. And I have enjoyed working with the public as they come in and ask the questions they need answers for.


In time of extreme partisanship, how can the county clerk be a trusted steward for all residents?


All voters whom elect anyone into office must feel they are electing someone they can trust to any elected office no matter what the position is to follow the laws of the office, no matter the party they are affiliated with. The Clerk’s office is no different. It is trusted that we stay neutral on issues. We have a responsibility to all citizens of Ford County to provide all citizens a safe and secure opportunity to vote. As well as any of the other duties of the office. There are many checks and balances that happen with the clerks job. The best way to check that, is to volunteer to work elections. Or come to the Clerk’s office and see what we do in the office. Not just at election time but throughout the year. There are several ways to volunteer at an election now. Just call the office and get your name on a volunteer list. We are required and do have different parties at election time working all parts of elections so they are working together. I am always available to speak to any group no matter the party. The clerk’s office has to stay neutral on issues and I feel we do a great job.


How would you communicate the importance of the office in languages other than English?


Ford County is one of five counties required to have election information to be in English and Spanish. When sending out information to the public I make sure that it is also sent out in Spanish. For polling locations, I have purchased a virtual poll worker that will be able to be used to translate over 100 languages if there is someone that comes to vote or to the office, and needs information in a language that we do not have a translator available, this can be used to translate to them in their language. This will help the person to receive the information they need in their language.


Name: Angie Gonzalez


Office Seeking: Ford County Clerk


Party: Democrat


Age as of Nov. 3: 36 years old


Occupation: Clerk at Comanche Middle School, Dodge City USD 443


Education: Graduated Class of 2002 from DCHS; Completed Cosmetology certification from the Dodge City Community College


Top Three Priorities if elected


— Increase voter turnout in future elections


— Add polling locations and/or accessible and convenient ballot drop off locations


— Restore the public's relationship and trust with the Ford County Clerk's Office.


Why are you the best candidate for the county clerk position?


In my current position with the school district the skills I am often praised for are my organizational skills, my ability to handle tasks seamlessly, my willingness to perform above and beyond my basic duties for our families. I have experience with accounting. I worked for Bank of America as a teller and was entrusted with large sums of money. I am a professional when communicating with members of the community, as a teenager I worked in retail. I am driven to learn and keep in touch with technological advances. I am bilingual, I speak, read and write fluently in Spanish. I am resourceful and take initiative. These are some of the skills I possess. I am open minded and receptive to others suggestions. These are skills that the residents of Ford County can expect as I serve as their county clerk, if elected.


The 2018 election cycle made national news regarding election locations, what would you do to ensure easier access to the polls for all residents?


The 2018 election cycle was a special time because of the need to move from the Civic Center due to construction. However, it was an impending problem as several citizen groups had tried previously to raise awareness of the need for additional polling places. I believe more places, closer to people’s homes could have alleviated the majority of the problems. I am under the impression the school district had offered the use of the school buildings and extended that offer after the election to better serve next time. Since then the legislature passed a law making it a requirement that a school building must be offered if a county election officer requested it by the beginning of the year that the election is to be held. Both the city officials and those of the school district have volunteered to work with the county to help obtain poll workers. I would begin to take action to meet the deadlines and would be receptive of other ideas.


Voting numbers in the county have been down in recent years, what would you do to get more people to vote?


We should increase voting locations and expand accessibility with secure drop off options. If this year has taught me anything it is that not everyone fits into one way of doing things. The more options we have for registered voters to participate the likelier they are to vote. I also believe education is key! We do not all grow up in homes where participation in elections is instilled. We don’t expect young adults to know how to drive a car by handing them the keys and wishing them luck; hopefully they are taught and guided. The same should be done with the ability to vote. I would participate in passing along information to the public by using reputable newspapers, such as this one. As it has been crucial for voter education. Candidate forums have also been great sources of information. As clerk I would put out press releases or notices describing voting requirements, place and hours, taking advantage of all the media outlets both mainstream and social.


How would you assist county officials in being more proactive in the community?


As County Clerk, with an officials’ approval, I would publicize when and where the various commission meetings would be held. I feel that providing transparency is key. One way I would do this is to point out when significant items of interest were to be on the agenda. I feel this could provide a more positive response and encourage Ford County members to know and appreciate the work of commissioners and staff.


With the many duties of a county clerk, how would you best organize your workload?


I am the mother of four active students, a full-time employee, and a volunteer in my community. I feel that time management is something that comes natural to me. I will not be a typical 8 to 5 employee for the county. If elected, I recognize that I would be a public servant for all Ford County residents. This means that if needed I will work evenings and weekends. A good work environment is needed for productivity and employee output. This is possible when employees feel they are heard, appreciated and their hard work is recognized. My goal will be to create and maintain a positive and harmonious work environment in the clerk's office.


How would you best serve the community in your role?


I would make an effort to connect with all elected and as many community officials within the county to see what needs are being met and those which they feel are not being met. I would also attend all pertinent training sessions made available to maintain a professional level of knowledge for performing the duties of the County Clerk.


Outside of an election year, what is the primary responsibility of this office?


The primary responsibilities of a county clerk are to keep the clerk’s office in the county seat when attending all sessions of the Board of County Commissioners, whether it be in person or having a deputy clerk in attendance. The clerk must also maintain the seals, records and papers of the board of commissioners. Sign the records of the proceedings of the board of commissioners, and attest the same with the seal of county and have general powers of notary public in the performance of all notarial acts.


In time of extreme partisanship, how can the county clerk be a trusted steward for all residents?


Being transparent with the residents of Ford County is something I feel will be able to demonstrate the efforts put forth to maintain the public’s trust. We are blessed to live in a community which for the most part is respectful of one another. I will work hard to reach all residents while respecting their views no matter how similar or different they are from mine. Like previously mentioned, being open minded and taking in others suggestions or ideas is an area that I feel would benefit ensuring the trust of the community. My hard work and efforts would demonstrate that members of the community are not speaking into a void.


How would you communicate the importance of the office in languages other than English?


I have the advantage of being fluent in Spanish. I speak, read and write in Spanish. This will be a great asset to the clerk position by eliminating any miscommunication. This would also open the doors to a larger portion of the community who would otherwise be hesitant to approach the office for possible lack of an available translator. As for other languages, I recognize this would still cause some barriers but I will strive to use resources to provide translations and services to help create an atmosphere of inclusivity in the clerk’s office.