Duties of the Clerk of Court’s Office
The Clerk of Court for each parish in Louisiana performs the functions of more than one office. He is the Clerk of Court, Recorder of Deeds and Mortgages, Jury Commissioner, and Election Official and Custodian of the Voting Machines.
As the Recorder, the office of the Clerk of Court receives, files, records and indexes all mortgages, conveyances and all other instruments recorded in the Public Records for the Parish.
The Clerk’s Office receives and files all pleadings, such as petitions, answers, motions and other filings in Civil and Probate matters, as well as indictments, bills of information and other filings in Criminal matters. The Clerk’s Office also handles special Juvenile matters and Criminal Neglect cases.
Another function of the Clerk’s Office is the issuance of Marriage Licenses and recording their returns after the marriages are performed.
The Clerk of Court also acts as Election Official and Custodian of Voting Machines. He is to deliver the voting machines to their precincts and notify all Commissioners and Deputy Parish Custodians of their duties and responsibilities on election day. He is required by law to open each voting machine used in an election, record the number of votes and report the totals to the Board of Election Supervisors.
The Clerk of Court also serves as member of the Jury Commission of his parish. The duty of this commission is to draw Petit Juries and Grand Juries as required by the Court.
All expenses of the Clerk’s Office are paid out of the fees, as fixed by statute, for recording, copies and services rendered in connection with Civil, Probate and Criminal proceedings. Taxpayers’ dollars are not used for the operation of the office.
Elections in Natchitoches Parish are held as scheduled by the office of the Secretary of State. http://www.sos.la.gov/
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS:
The Clerk of Court is the Chief Elections Officer in the parish. As such, he serves as a member of the Parish Board of Elections Supervisors. The Board meets before, during and after an election.
Before an election, the Clerk of Court’s Office qualifies candidates for office in any local election, while the Secretary of State qualifies those candidates for office on a state level. This qualifying period as well as required fees are set by law.
Poll workers are vital to the election process. The Clerk of Court encourages residents of Natchitoches Parish to serve as Election Commissioners at the various voting precincts. Interested persons must attend one evening school and pass a written test to become certified as a Commissioner. Schools for new Commissioners are generally held twice a year.
To become a certified Election Commissioner, you must meet the following qualifications:
- You must be a registered voter of Natchitoches Parish;
- You must be able to vote without assistance;
- You must not be a candidate or immediate family member of a candidate in the election; and
- You must not have been convicted of any election offense.
A Commissioner who serves at the polling place on Election Day and who has received a certificate of instruction shall receive $200.00.
A person interested in becoming a Commissioner-In-Charge must possess the same qualifications as a Commissioner. He or she must have successfully completed a general course of instruction for Commissioners-In-Charge and must have served as a Commissioner in at least two (2) elections during the last four (4) years. Commissioner-In-Charge school is held once a year. A Commissioner-In-Charge shall receive $250.00 for each election in which he or she serves.
Election Commissioners and Commissioners-In-Charge are randomly selected by the Parish Board of Election Supervisors in accordance with Louisiana Law.
SAMPLE ELECTION BALLOTS:
Complete sample ballots for all parishes, including Natchitoches Parish, may be obtained from the Secretary of State website, http://www.GeauxVote.com.
Watchers at polls are allowed but under strict guidelines. A watcher shall be admitted within all parts of the polling place during the election and the counting and tabulation of votes, and shall call any infraction of the law to the attention of the Commissioners. Each candidate (or in the case of a presidential election, each slate of candidates for presidential elector) is entitled to have one watcher at every precinct where the office he seeks is voted on in a primary or general election. The Louisiana Revised Statutes Election Code should be consulted for laws concerning watchers. For detailed information concerning watchers, please call the Clerk of Court’s Office.
The Clerk of Court is responsible for training all Election Commissioners and seeing that all precincts are staffed sufficiently for every election. He sends notices to the Election Commissioners, Commissioners-In-Charge and Deputy Custodians of the election date, hours, voting machine delivery/pickup and other vital information concerning the election.
Election Day begins at the Clerk’s Office at 5:00 a.m., handling questions and concerns from the various polling places. The Office is open all day to handle any situation that needs to be addressed. The Board of Election Supervisors convenes, usually around 6:00 p.m., to count absentee ballots. When the polls close at 8:00 p.m., calls are still monitored and the Office prepares for incoming election results. Those results are tabulated and forwarded to the Secretary of State immediately by computer. The media is notified of the results.
After an election, the Board of Election Supervisors unseals the voting machines and re-checks the results, meeting to certify the final results and forwarding them to the Secretary of State. The Commissioners, Commissioners-In-Charge, Deputy Custodians and Janitors are sent payment for their services by the Secretary of State’s Office.
Complete election results can be obtained from the Secretary of State website, http://www.GeauxVote.com.
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Natchitoches Parish Clerk of Court Harassment Policy
All forms of illegal discrimination and harassment are strictly forbidden. All employees are allowed to work in an environment free from all forms of discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, gender/sex, age, national origin, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, pregnancy, or otherwise as prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended (42 USC § 2000e), 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (La. Rev. Stat. 23:301, et seq.), and any other federal or state law prohibiting discrimination and harassment in employment. This policy adheres to and is in compliance with Act 270 of the 2018 Regular Legislative Session designated as La. Rev. Stat. § 42:341 et seq.
Discrimination and harassment are prohibited and not tolerated from the Clerk of Court, administrative officers, supervisors, co-workers, customers, clients, contractors, vendors, judges, courtroom personnel or any other individuals with whom you may come into contact with at the Clerk’s office.
Sexual harassment is one form of unlawful discrimination/ harassment and shall not be tolerated. Sexual harassment is defined as:
- unwelcome sexual advances;
- requests for sexual favors; and
- other visual, verbal, physical, or inappropriate conduct of a sexual nature when:
- the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment or the holding of office; or
- the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
Description and Examples of Sexually Inappropriate Conduct:
Sexual harassment on the job may take several forms, including:
- unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, propositions, or gestures;
- requests for sexual favors;
- unwelcome or offensive touching;
- continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature or based on gender;
- verbal harassment, such as jokes and innuendoes;
- graphic, verbal comments about an individual’s body;
- the display of pornographic or sexually suggestive materials, or degrading materials relating to a person’s protected status, including materials displayed using electronic communication resources (such as internet, intranet, voice mail or e-mail system);
- jokes or cartoons of a sexual nature on display or distributed;
- sexual stereotyping based on gender or sex;
- offensive comments, displays, jokes or cartoons concerning an individual’s sex, gender, sexual orientation or preference, that are not necessarily sexual in nature.
Other Forms of Harassment:
The principles for defining sexual harassment in the workplace apply as well to harassment based on other protected categories. More specifically, it is a violation policy to engage in conduct with the purpose or effect of substantially interfering work environment or creating a hostile work environment because of or on a basis of an employee’s protected status, including race, color, religion, age, national origin, disability, citizenship status, veteran status, pregnancy, or any other protected status under federal or state law.
Reporting and Complaint Procedure:
All public servants have an obligation to contribute to a harassment and discrimination free workplace by taking immediate action to report harassment at the first instance of any conduct which results in:
- feeling uncomfortable in a situation because of someone’s harassing, sexually suggestive, inappropriate, abusive or discriminatory conduct;
- witnessing or overhearing harassing, sexual suggestive, inappropriate, abusive or discriminatory conduct;
- feeling that another’s harassing, sexually suggestive, inappropriate, abusive or discriminatory conduct is improper and violates this policy;
- believing that another’s harassing, sexually suggestive, inappropriate, abusive or discriminatory behavior impairs their ability to do their job;
- or wanting the harassing, sexually suggesting, inappropriate, abusive or discriminatory conduct to stop.
Any employee or individual at the workplace (customer, client, contractor, vendor, etc.) may make a complaint of harassment by taking any of the following steps:
- Explain the situation and complaint to the Clerk of Court or,
- If the individual does not feel comfortable reporting the harassment complaint to the Clerk of Court or Chief Deputy for any reason, the individual may contact the Executive Director of the Louisiana Clerk of Court Association (800-256-6660) or the Hotline for the Louisiana Clerk of Court Risk Management Agency (888-288-9988).
Any such complaint of harassment will be kept confidential, to the extent reasonable possible. However, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
All complaints of unlawful harassment, discrimination and retaliation will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken to prevent and promptly correct any harassing behavior. All employees have an obligation and are expected to cooperate in workplace investigations in good faith. Any public employee who has found to violate the harassment policy may be disciplined, up to and including suspension or immediate discharge.
Retaliation against an individual for filing a good faith complaint or testifying or participating in any way in an investigation or other proceeding involving a complaint of harassment is strictly prohibited. Retaliation includes the taking of any materially adverse employment action (such as termination, demotion, or significant changes in status, schedule, or duties) against an employee because of the employee’s protected activity under the law.
Questions and Policy Interpretation:
Any questions regarding this policy or its interpretation should be immediately directed to the Clerk of Court.
Below is a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions that we receive. Click on the question to review the answer. If you have a question that is not here, please contact us.
Q:What are your office hours?
A: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding holidays.
Q:What do I need to do to be excused from jury duty?
A: For further information contact the Judge’s office at (318)357-2209 or (318)357-2210
Q:What do I have to do to work at the polls?
A: You must become certified by attending a commissioners school. These are held twice a year.
Q:How far back do your records date?
A: Our court records, marriage records and land records date back to approximately 1732.
Q:Do you have death records on file?
A: Those are available from the State Office of Public Health.
Q:Where do I go to get a certified copy of my divorce?
A: The civil department of our office has copies of all divorces in Natchitoches Parish.
Q:Where do I go to get a certified copy of my deed?
A: Those are available in the recording department of our office.
Q:How do I find out who owns the property at a certain location?
A: You need to check with the Tax Assessor’s Office. Our records are indexed by the owner’s name not by description.
Q: How do I become a notary?
A: By taking and passing a written exam given by the Secretary of State. If you are a resident of Natchitoches Parish and want to be a notary in this parish, visit the Secretary of State web site.
Q: Where can I get a certified copy of my birth certificate?
A: Birth certificates from 1983 forward and birth cards for the last 100 years are available from our office. You must apply in person. Birth certificates prior to 1983 may be acquired from the State. The Birth Certificate will be ordered and received within one hour. See Forms for an application.
Q: What do I need to get a certified copy of my birth certificate?
A: Applicants applying for a certified copy of a Birth Certificate or Birth Card are required to provide identificatiion in the form of one primary document or two secondary documents.
Q: What is the difference between a birth certificate and a birth card?
A: A birth card is small and will fit in your pocket. It provides your name, date of birth, sex, parish of birth, mother’s maiden name and father’s initials. The birth certificate provides much more detail (i.e. town, hospital or birth, father & mother’s full name, residence etc.).
Q: How do I know whether I need a birth certificate or a birth card?
A: You will need to ask the person/agency who is requiring the information.
Q: How much is a certified copy of a birth certificate?
Q: How much is a certified copy of a birth card? (Please note birth cards are avaiable only with the purchase of a birth certificate)
Q: How much is a marriage license?
Q: What do I need to get a marriage license?
A: Proof of age and if you have been married before, you will need a certified copy of your divorce or a copy of the death certifcate of former spouse. See Forms for an application.
Q: I want to file for divorce without hiring an attorney. What do I need to do?
A: THERE ARE NO STANDARD FORMS FOR DIVORCE. EACH CASE IS DIFFERENT. The law allows you to file for a divorce without the assistance of an attorney. The Clerk of Court staff CANNOT assist you. If there are children and/or property involved, we suggest you employ an attorney to assist you.
Q: Where do I go to pay my traffic ticket?
A: The Sheriff’s office collects those unless it was issued by a municipality and in that situation, you go to the town hall of the municipality that issued it.