OPINIONS: It’s time to change Somerset’s register of deeds to an appointed position


by The Somerset County Commissioners

On Tuesday November 7, voters in Somerset County will be asked to consider changing the position of Register of Deeds from elected to appointed. One quarter of Maine’s counties have already established the Register of Deeds as an appointed position. In Somerset, this position is currently unfilled.

In accordance with Somerset’s County Charter Section 4, the County Commissioners can ask for the change to be put on the ballot. The question will read as follows: “Shall the position of an elected Register of Deeds be abolished and replaced with a Register of Deeds appointed by the Board of Commissioners?”

The Commissioners unanimously agree the time is right for the Register of Deeds to be appointed for the following reasons:

Expertise and Qualifications: Land record management and legal aspects related to property transactions require specialized knowledge. Appointing the Register of Deeds allows for a more deliberate selection process, which can prioritize individuals with relevant qualifications, experience, and expertise in real estate, land records, and legal matters. This can lead to more effective management of land records while maintaining a high level of customer service.

Consistency and Stability: An appointed Register of Deeds may provide more stability in the office, as they are not subject to the fluctuations of election cycles. This can contribute to consistent management of land records and a smooth operation of the office. Furthermore, this stability will allow for implementation of technology and processes to improve accessibility, accuracy and efficiency in maintaining and accessing land records.

Reduced Political Influence: While the County Charter states that all elected positions are “non-partisan”, the fact remains that elected officials often have to engage in political campaigns and fundraising, which can lead to concerns about the influence of
special interests. Appointed Registers of Deeds are not susceptible to such political pressures, allowing them to focus on the technical and administrative aspects of their

The Commissioners believe appointing a Register of Deeds is the correct path forward to best provide for the needs of our communities. Please join with us in voting “Yes” to change the Register of Deeds from an elected official to an appointed one.


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