UPDATE, 11:50 p.m.: With nearly all votes in a few minutes before midnight, Wanda Halbert was maintaining a lead over two challengers for the Shelby County Clerk’s office.
Halbert had nearly 50% of the vote. Her closest challenger, Republican Jeff Jacobs, had 40%.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Clerk race has become a hot one in recent weeks due to a lot of issues with drivers getting their new license plates.
This is the office that processes things like car titles and driver’s licenses. Of course, you have probably heard about the massive backup for people getting new license plates under County Clerk Wanda Halbert.
She’s been under fire, defending herself by saying they were held up by funding problems.
WREG caught up with her and her Republican and Independent challengers today.
“These hiccups and blips in the road, those have been some pain points, not only for our team but especially for me, because when something’s outside your control, you’re still responsible at the end of the day,” Halbert said. “I’m going to always ask them to vote for me, a person that you can trust in, a person that you can believe in, a person that you’ve known.”
Independent Harold C. Smith is a former educator and Republican Jeff Jacobs worked for the county for more than 20 years.
“When you’re always claiming that someone else is the problem, you need to look at yourself in the mirror. And that hasn’t been done,” Smith said. “What I wanted to do was to run because instead of complaining about it, let’s do something about it.”
“I saw a need for services that weren’t being performed out in the community and I really wanted to get back into the Shelby County government,” Jacobs said. “My plan is to get more staff. It’s highly understaffed in that office. And there’s plenty of money in the budget to get more people in there.”
Both also say they want to increase efficiency of the office by adding new kiosks and other technology. Halbert says she is working on some of those improvements as well.