Candidates for Marion county clerk, Election 2024 

For two rounds of voting this year, Keizerites, and Marion County at large, will decide who to elect as the county clerk for a four-year term. 

The position is nonpartisan and comes with a salary of $127,296. 

The Marion County clerk’s job is to provide access to property records, increase public trust and confidence by conducting fair and open elections as well as working continuously to improve the level of services through collaboration, innovation and competence, according to the Marion County Clerk’s office. 

Taken together, these duties signify the clerk’s office as not only a governmental organization that needs to uphold a strict ethical mandate, but one that must also be responsive and transparent to the citizens it serves. 

The Clerk’s office is responsible for a variety of tasks, namely, administrative services such as managing the Departments for purchasing, budgets, revenue forecasts, as well as taking part in legislative activity and maintaining the journal of the Marion County Board of Commissioners.

The office also manages public records and record requests, issues licenses such as for marriage, managing elections as well as managing a tax appeal board for property owners. 

Each section of the clerk’s office operates under the purview of the clerk, though each partition has its own employees and deputy clerks. 

Anna Munson 

Born in Rome, Italy, 67-year-old Munson came to Oregon in 1977 to meet her husband and work as a cardiac ultrasound technician at Salem Hospital as well as working in Corvallis doing the same for 19 years. 

She went to Grossmont Community College where she earned her Associate of Science degree in Cardio-Pulmonary sonography in 1977.

Munson has worked as an election worker in the 2016 and 2020 elections though she noted she did not participate in the 2020 primary election as a worker. 

Her experience as an election worker includes verifying signatures as well as counting ballots that come in. 

Her other duties involved: opening ballots, working in the tabulator room counting ballots and as a ballot adjudicator after learning and working on how to verify signatures while working in the clerk’s office. 

When asked how her background experience would aid her she said she thought that her life experience and being a outsider in terms of experience would make her better suited to the role

“I have a different perspective. I think my perspective is important and it might be timely right now,” Munson said. 

Munson noted her reason for running for the clerk’s office as needing an increase in transparency due to the divisiveness of the 2020 election as well as based on her own research. 

“I started looking a little bit more at politics and I went with some people and formed a group after the 2020 election. I worked on it and I didn’t think anything of [the election] but people were questioning it, so I said ‘let’s find out,” Munson said. 

She listed issues such as more transparency being needed from the clerk’s office as well as issues that could arise from mail-in voting, claiming that due to how large the system is “how could someone not want to do something nefarious.” 

She noted data security breaches within the Oregon DMV describing how these issues could lead to voter data being taken.

Munson described several ways she would address perceived issues including increased trips to places like schools in order to increase community education, increasing the amount of security and verification around mail-in voting as well as focus on the customer service aspect by putting more information online as long as the office is able to do so. 

In terms of election changes, Munson noted one way to increase transparency would be to list the political affiliations of election workers. 

While Munson did not provide evidence of voter fraud but noted that there is “a lot of doubt” surrounding the recent election’s veracity and security. 

According to the office of the Secretary of State, “A review of the vote by mail system by the state’s Legislative Fiscal Office found from 2000-2019 there were approximately 61 million ballots cast. Of those, 38 criminal convictions of voter fraud were obtained. This amounts to a .00006% rate.” 

In the 2020 election, out of millions of votes cast, residents and local elections officials reported 140 instances of potential voter fraud. Of these 140 cases, four cases were referred to the Oregon Department of Justice and two of those are pending resolution, according to the website

When asked about the security of the 2020 election Munson said, “I think that the 2020 elections made me look up and think and I think if it does that for people, that’s not a bad idea.”

Munson so far has garnered endorsements from State Sen. Kim Thatcher (Keizer) and State Sen. Dennis Linthicum (Klamath Falls), Keizer mayor Cathy Clark as well as county commissioners Danielle Bethell and Colm Willis. 

Joanne Lepley

Born in Bangor, Maine, 64-year-old Lepley is the second of three candidates vying for the position of Marion County Clerk. 

Lepley is a Navy veteran where she served as a cryptologic technician. She met her husband, a native Oregonian and lived together in Sandy, Oregon where they raised their children. 

She earned a bachelors of science degree in political science from Portland State University in 1996.

Lepley left Oregon in 2010 to return to Maine but came back to Woodburn in 2020, where she still resides. 

Lepley previously worked as the city recorder in Bandon, Oregon from 2007-2010, the town clerk in Berwick, Maine from 2013-2019 as well as currently working for the Marion County Clerk’s office since 2022 as the deputy elections clerk. 

Lepley described how her background experience has given her information on how to approach what the office does.

“I learned a lot of the basics, like how elections had to be on schedules,” Lepley said. 

She discussed how learning these basics aided her in creating ways to improve elections in her positions such as her past efforts putting together election packet materials for those who wanted to get involved but did not know how to put the packet together or enter the race. 

Having experience was important as Lepley described how someone elected to the Clerk’s office should have the appropriate experience to serve in the position. 

“I don’t think it’s a position that just anybody should run for. I think we have to have some basic background on how records management works and how elections really work. It’s more than a full-time job.”

Lepley’s priorities for the office include improving the passport system by creating appointments for those looking to acquire or renew one, maintaining the current team at the clerk’s office and continuing to ensure the office remains transparent to the public. 

Lepley described creating more opportunities for educating the public by visiting places such as schools to talk about election security as well as misinformation. 

Finally, Lepley also noted a goal of hers is to try and increase the amount of voting homeless in Marion County, a group often left disempowered when it comes to casting their ballot. 

“They have a right to vote. They’re citizens of this county,” Lepley said. 

She would do this through encouraging same-day registration, managed by the clerk’s office, though noted some issues, such as a stable mailing address or ensuring all coming to get a ballot have a photo-ID.

When asked about the 2020 election, Lepley noted she had no worries or issues. 

“I would consider it a free and fair election. While there’s a rogue person that may have tried to do something it was either stopped or it was so minuscule it didn’t matter.” Lepley said 

She noted that mail-in voting is a secure system but spoke about what she would like to fix within the system. 

“I think that our vote by mail system right now, it works, but there’s parts of it that maybe could work a little bit better, like for homeless voting.”

Bill Burgess

As the current county clerk, Burgess, who has held the office since 2005, is seeking another chance at the wheel. 

Burgess attended Oregon State University in 1976 where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Pharmacy as well as Lewis & Clark College in 1995, earning a masters degree in public administration. 

He enjoys speaking about topics interesting to him such as faith, he is a member of the Morningside United Methodist Church, as well as about politics. 

Burgess spoke about his background governmental experience which includes eight years on the Salem City Council from 1990-1998. 

He noted that, when looking at the ballot, he made the best candidate due to his more than 20 years holding various elected offices, though he noted that each of the candidates brings something of their own to the table. 

During the interview, Keizertimes was given a tour around the clerk’s office, meeting the office employees and received an impromptu class about the ballot verifying and counting process that occurs during an election. 

Burgess noted that maintaining transparency and the rule of law are critical to him in his current position as clerk. 

“I think that regardless of background, upholding the law is the most important thing when it comes to government jobs,” Burgess said. 

His priorities for another term as clerk include maintaining a safe and secure election, maintaining trust in the clerk’s office, updating the voter registration system and protecting the staff he works with. 

Burgess described how trust in the office has been waning, in particular since the 2016 election. 

“In this era when a third of the people have questions about the integrity of elections, it’s my job to do everything I can to regain their trust,” Burgess said. 

He spoke of implementing updates to the Oregon Centralized Voter registration system, a system that helps read and verify ballot signatures, which has been used in Oregon since 2006. 

In regards to the 2020 election, Burgess said that, “The 2020 election ran very well, accurately and securely and, in spite of COVID, we had a good turnout.”

Burgess also expressed trust for the mail-in ballot system and described trips he has made to national conventions where he described the many measures Oregon takes to secure its vote as far ahead in terms of sophistication and reliability when compared to other states.

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

SUBSCRIBE TO GET KEIZER NEWS — We report on your community with care, depth, fairness, and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe today to get our daily newsletters and more