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partisan politics plays into my job much. We have a law that tells us how to do every aspect of our job. It

doesn’t really matter how you feel party-wise. We have a job to do.”

— Terri Harrison Polk County Clerk

“As a county clerk, I don’t feel like

Getting the job done Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison lets the law, not politics, be her guide

By Jennifer Barnett Reed For County Lines

County Clerk Terri Harrison and her compatriots worked the front lines. Tey’re the ones who told voters on election days whether they had to show a driver’s license to cast a ballot. And it’s to their offices that same-sex couples came to apply for marriage licenses. None of that contention bothers Harrison. Now in her eighth term as clerk of Polk County and her second year of a two-year term as president of the Arkansas Association of County Clerks, Harrison said she instead simply focuses on what the law re- quires – even if that changes from one week to the next. “As county clerk, I don’t feel like the partisan politics plays

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into my job much,” she said. “We have a law that tells us how to do every aspect of our job. It doesn’t really matter how you feel party-wise. We have a job to do.” It’s a job Harrison has been doing since 2001, shortly after she was elected to replace the retiring county clerk who had been Harrison’s boss for seven years.

rkansas’ county clerks often find themselves in the middle of contentious issues, and 2014 was no exception. As state legislators and judges de- bated voter ID laws and same-sex marriage, Polk

“It’s kind of funny — when I first went to work [in the county clerk’s office], my father-in-law said, ‘You can work for her for a few years, and when she’s ready to retire, maybe you’ll want to run,’” Harrison said. “I didn’t think that was something I would ever want to do. Ten I discovered how much I really, really enjoyed it.” Te idea of campaigning made Harrison a little nervous, she said — she had opposition in both the primary and gen- eral elections — but that didn’t last long. “Te people in Polk County were so good to me,” she said

of that campaign. “I really enjoyed getting out and visiting with people.” Harrison, 44, is a native of Polk County. She graduated

from Acorn High School in 1988 and attended community college in Mena for a couple of years before going to work in the county clerk’s office in 1994. Her husband, John, works for Brodix, a local manufacturer of cylinder heads. Tey have a daughter in high school and a son in college. In the 21 years she’s worked in the county clerk’s office, she’s seen an enormous amount of change. “When I first started working for the county, and even when I first became clerk, all the voting was done by paper bal- lot,” she said. “We had a central tabulator at the courthouse. People in charge of the polling places would bring ballots in



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