Smith retains Cabell County Clerk seat

November 8, 2018


HU NTINGTON — Cabell County voters on Tuesday night gave approval to incumbent Democrat County Clerk Phyllis Smith, who was appointed to the position in September 2017.

With all 71 precincts reporting, Smith, 72, of Milton, received 14,777 votes to outpace Republican Joe Powers, 56, of Huntington, who received 13,081 votes. Smith was elected to an unexpired term ending in 2022.

In September 2017, Smith was appointed to the position by Cabell County commissioners following the death of longtime County Clerk Karen Cole.

During her campaign, Smith praised the work she’s accomplished in the role so far. This included overseeing the October 2017 road bond referendum and successfully earning a $667,724 grant to offset the purchase of $1.4 million in new voting equipment.

“I’ve worked hard and I want to do good for this office,” Smith said following her victory. “I’ve had a lot of good help, and I really appreciate all the people who have supported me.”

Powers is a regional sales manager for Courthouse Computer Systems, which designs software for county clerks in West Virginia and Kentucky. He ran on a platform that touted his election technology experience, which includes several years with IT software companies designing software exclusively for county clerks. He did not return phone calls Tuesday night.

Smith said she will make more documents available online as part of a goal to update the county clerk’s website. In early October, her staff spent time training on new software to upload deeds and marriage licenses to the website.

She is also working with a new payroll system that would correct issues with incorrect 941 forms to the IRS, which could have resulted in thousands of dollars in fines.

Smith said she was satisfied with the county’s 315 new Express Votes voting machines and 75 DS200 voting tabulation machines purchased in June. This replaced older-model machines that caused headaches during the primary election in May. She applied for a grant with the Help America Vote Act and was awarded money in September to offset the $1.4 million machines.

The clerk of the county commission serves as secretary to the commission and maintains official records. The clerk handles the county’s accounts payable, payroll and employee benefits for all county employees, accounting of all county revenues and expenditures and preparation of annual county financial statements. The clerk has additional duties relating to voter registration, elections, deeds, wills and estates, vital records and other matters.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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