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Boone County Clerk: Taylor Burks

Party: Republican

Age: 32

Place of residence: Columbia

Occupation: Boone County Clerk

Political experience: Boone County Clerk since 2017

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Truman State University, master’s degrees in account from Washington University in St. Louis and in administration from the University of Oklahoma

Opponent: Brianna Lennon

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

I been county clerk for about a year-and-a-half now. I worked with (former clerk) Wendy Noren for the first seven months to learn her system, how she did things, what is in place here in Boone County and have kept the team, so we’re a team of Republicans and Democrats working together to protect the process for elections here in Boone County.

What would be your top priority if you win?

We have a lot of projects in the hopper that we’re looking to get done. Some of those are dependent on the budget cycle. The new fiscal year starts Jan. 1 and we’ve started the budget discussions with our county commission. I’ve requested funding for new election equipment. Our current equipment is old, so that’s going to be a pretty significant project over the next six months, to replace our current equipment and have it ready by the April 2019 municipal elections.

We’ve got some other projects that are waiting as well that deal with county administration. So not necessarily the election side but things that deal with payroll, HR and the finances of county government. The county clerk plays a significant role in what those projects look like.

What other major issues are facing the clerk’s office and how do you plan to address them?

One of the problems that local government faces is our pretty steady stagnant revenue. As we’ve seen population growth we’ve not seen a growth in county revenue. So I take that as a challenge of what can we do to streamline and become more efficient in our office.

In the county clerk’s office we’ve managed to save over a quarter of a million dollars over the past year and we want to continue to do that so that as our revenue stays the same, we don’t have to go for tax increases, we don’t have to go to the voters of Boone County and say we need more money so we can continue to operate as we have in the past.

What is the biggest threat to the integrity of local elections?
There are any number of things that we focus on and we try to deal with on a daily basis. It can run from the routine things of someone registering here and another place and trying to vote in both locations – we’ve seen that before. But that’s the purpose of an election authority, to ensure that the laws are being followed and everybody who’s eligible to vote can vote.

Increasingly we’re seeing cyber threats that we have to deal with. And so having safeguards in place for us to protect our election systems and for folks to feel confident in what we’re using.

The most critical thing though for voters to understand is that our systems are safe and secure and that every vote counts, so we want to encourage people to participate in the process and come out and vote, register when they can and be a part of it.

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