A longtime county employee and an insurance underwriter are vying for the Democratic nomination for York County register of deeds.

The winner of the primary race between Nancy Hammond of Lyman and Rachel Sherman of Sanford will face Republican Michael Provencher of Waterboro in the November general election. Longtime Register of Deeds Debra Anderson is retiring.

The register of deeds serves a four-year term and receives an annual salary for $40,000 to $55,000 for the full-time position.

Both candidates say they have the experience needed to guide the department as it continues to make documents available online.

Hammond, 55, currently is a senior insurance underwriter and closer for Atlantic Coast Title LLC and has a degree in paralegal studies. She decided to run for the register position after hearing that Anderson is retiring and speaking with her mentors. Hammond does not believe the register of deeds should be an elected position and said voters need to make sure the register is focused on getting the job done and is not there for political reasons alone.

“On a daily basis I access the information the registry provides. I’ve been there long enough to go through some of the big changes they’ve encountered, including making everything available online,” she said.

Hammond said if elected she would work to improve the systems in place at the registry and ensure older documents are made available to the public online.

“We have one purpose and that’s the preservation of documents and accessing real estate information for the public,” she said. “I think my experience in the real estate profession, my work with professionals who utilize the information from the registry and my knowledge of real estate transactions will be a benefit to the staff and to the public, including non-professionals who use the registry to navigate issues with their real estate.”

Sherman, 50, has worked for York County government for 20 years, including nine years as an administrative assistant and 11 years as a legal secretary in the district attorney’s office. She received statewide recognition a decade ago for advocating for county government and its employees during a financial crisis. She is currently working on a master’s degree in public administration.

Sherman said her background in records management and accounting, her familiarity with Maine statutes and title standards, and her experience with the county budget process would be a benefit as register of deeds.

“I have a great passion for county government,” she said. “I feel with my education and background that I’m ready and this is the time to run.”

With a document backlog and issues that arose with a contractor when records were being digitized, Sherman said it is now important to focus on fixing those issues while keeping documents “safe, secure and accurate.”

Additionally, Sherman said her past work experience makes her qualified as a department head to administer the budget, oversee staff and adhere to union contracts and county policies.

“I have a strong record of leadership and that is something I can bring to the table,” she said.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

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