Craig Lila Herod, Moffat County chief deputy clerk and elections supervisor, will step away today from the office she has called home for more than 20 years.
Herod, a candidate for Moffat County clerk and recorder, resigned from her position with the county so she could remain eligible for the election, under guidelines in the federal Hatch Act.
She said leaving the office today will be hard and that she will “miss it a lot.”
“It’s going to be terrible,” she said.
Later, she jokingly said, “I think I’ll call in sick.”
Stephanie Beckett, a deputy clerk in the county clerk and recorder’s office, will assume Herod’s position indefinitely.
Herod started working part time in the clerk and recorder’s office in October 1989, and became a full-time employee when Jessie Rowley took office as clerk and recorder in January 1990.
But her employment and candidacy were at odds, according to the Hatch Act, a law originally enacted in 1939 and amended in 1940, which restricts the political activity of people employed by agencies that received federal money.
Herod was informed about provisions in the Hatch Act and contacted the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for an opinion.
The OSC said her candidacy was a violation of the Hatch Act based on her work in acquiring a federal grant to fund improvements at the Hamilton Community Center, which is used as a polling place. Herod applied for the grant as part of her duties as deputy clerk and county elections supervisor.
The OSC gave her the choice to resign from her county position or withdraw from the election.
Herod said the decision wasn’t easy but that being clerk and recorder was the “ultimate goal” for her.
“I think I’ve known since I started working here, almost from the very beginning, that someday I want to be the county clerk,” she said.
She also said that stepping away from her job has “been a good lesson” that “it shouldn’t be easy to seek public office.”
Herod, a republican, is currently running unopposed for clerk and recorder, her first time seeking public office.
“I think I’m showing the citizens of Moffat County this is important to me and I am willing to make a personal sacrifice to serve them,” she said. “I think that is maybe more of a commitment than having an opponent.”
Herod is a certified election official, one of 529 nationwide. She received her state certification in 2006 and her federal certification in 2009.
She said being the elections supervisor “gets in your blood.”
“When you first start out, it’s just your job and you go through the motions,” Herod said. “After I went through all these trainings and this national certification, you realize that this is a really important job for every county and city in the nation.
“That’s how we are promoting and protecting democracy and because of us, that is how the ballots get counted. That’s how the process happens.”
Beckett described Herod as a “very dedicated county employee,” a notion Herod agrees with.
“There is a lot of pride when you step back and see what you do,” Herod said. “People literally have died for the right to vote and then you see you’re the one that gets to promote democracy and preserve that, and I think it is really serious.”