Find California clerk offices, including county, city, and circuit clerks, and clerks of court. Clerks provide information on public court records and legal documents, criminal, jail, and arrest records, marriage licenses, divorce, judicial, and probate records, businesses liens, notary services, real estate taxes and voter registration services.
A Clerk is the official keeper of public records for a county or local government. Clerks ensure that public records are retained, archived, and made accessible to the public in accordance with all laws and regulations. Clerks also support the elections process and provide a variety of transactional services. The Clerk's duties are established and regulated through a combination of state statutes, local ordinances and charters, and other regulations.
The Clerk's Office contains a range of public records. Clerks keep vital records, such as birth, marriage, and death certificates. Clerks also keep documents involving land or land transactions, including deeds, mortgages, attachments, tax liens, judgments, maps, floor plans, probate certificates, variances, and all other legal documents pertaining to land use and transfers. Clerks are responsible for posting public meetings records, such as meeting notices, agendas, and minutes, in accordance with local governing laws and regulations that state when and how long these records must be made public. Clerk's Offices also register business names for businesses operating within their jurisdiction's boundaries.
In addition to keeping public records, the Clerk's Office issues a variety of licenses and permits to the public. Clerk's Offices issue dog licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, marriage licenses, liquor licenses, parking permits, and permits for special events. Many Clerks also process passport applications, provide notary services, and handle other transactions of convenience.
Clerks support the elections process by providing assistance to candidates filing elections paperwork and individuals submitting petitions, and by working with the Board of Elections. Clerks administer the oath of office to elected officials. The Clerk's Office may also help register voters.
Clerk's Offices handle and store a large volume of documents, often dating back to the founding of their county or local government. Clerks are increasingly using electronic documents and specialized software to efficiently manage these records. However, state laws often require that Clerks maintain hard copies of certain documents, which limits the extent to which Clerks can digitize their archives.