Meredith Edwards is a Republican and is running uncontested for her second term as Alamance County Clerk for Superior Court. Having been first elected in 2018, Edwards said she has worked for the last four years to grow and improve the clerk’s office to better serve the citizens of Alamance County.
The biggest of these improvements stem from North Carolina transitioning from a paper filing system to an e-filing or online filing system.
“The function of the court system, inherently, will change. The way we operate, the way folks expect us to operate when they walk into a courthouse, will be very, very different over the next two or three years,” Edwards said. “We've done a lot to prepare for that and to get our citizens ready, but it's still going to be a tough change.”
According to Edwards, Wake, Johnston, Lee and Harnett Counties will be the first to pilot the state’s new online filing and are expected to go live with the system in December.
“I want to make sure that when we transition to e-filing, we're not leaving anybody behind, we're not losing any access to justice — we're not losing anybody out there who feels like ‘now I can't touch the court system because of these e-filing requirements,’” Edwards said. “If I can successfully transition us to e-filing and bring the public along, and the attorneys along and the judges along, I think that'll be a really big deal for us in the next four years.”
With the transition to e-filing and the state of communication following the COVID-19 pandemic, Edwards said that training, improving and expanding the clerk's office has always been — and will continue to be — a large focus of hers.
“That's one thing I'm really proud of, is just our consistent effort at improving our service to our citizens, … improving the efficiency within our office to improve that service,” Edwards said. “Not only the face-to-face service when we're speaking to someone, but how do we actually move paperwork through our office so that we're doing the best job of keeping our records updated.”
Edwards said this is something that she and her staff have been training and attending classes for for the past four years.
“No one ever comes to the clerk's office having a great day, right? It's always something really difficult in their lives,” Edwards said. “We're responding with compassion, we're trying to be as helpful as we can without crossing the line, but understanding that everyone is dealing with something difficult.”
Looking forward into her second term, Edwards said that there are conversations occurring between the courts about building a new courthouse for the growing communities, as well as instituting recovery courts that would focus specifically on those suffering with substance abuse crimes.
“I love being the clerk and I love the opportunities that it gives me to be able to advocate for better services for our citizens,” Edwards said.