Deputy Douglas County Clerk Heather Dill was designated as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA), the highest professional achievement, in a ceremony conducted by the National Election Center on Aug. 20 in Orlando, Florida.
The CERA designation is achieved only through a multi-year course of study taught by the Auburn University MPA faculty and conducted by the Election Center’s Professional Education Program. The intent of the program is to professionalize the management of voter registration and elections administration in promoting and preserving public trust in the democratic process.
“This is the highest designation available to elections and voter registration officials,” Tim Mattice, Director of the Center, said. “This graduating class of 96 election professionals totals 1,206 election officials and election vendors who have achieved the CERA or Certified Elections/Registration Vendor (CERV) status. This is an outstanding accomplishment.”
“Douglas County is indeed fortunate to have Heather Dill as one of the top designated professionals in America. Obtaining and maintaining CERA/CERV status means that she has committed to a career long process of continuing education to improve the electoral process in Kansas and the nation,” he said.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said, “Years of classes and work go into this certification. Heather’s service to Douglas County is invaluable and I am thankful for her dedication to the citizens.”
Dill started her career in Lyon County as Election Clerk in 2009 and was promoted to Deputy Election Officer in 2012. She was hired as the Deputy Douglas County Clerk in 2016. She said the CERA program has helped in her professional development. “I have gained so much more knowledge about the history of elections, plus, the networking with colleagues across the nation to learn and share best practices has been invaluable. It really shows that we all are dedicated to fair and accurate elections,” she said.
In the history of CERA, only eight people have earned certification from Kansas. Currently, there are only four CERA-certified professionals actively working in Kansas and two of them work in Douglas County: Dill and Shew.
The Professional Education Program is sponsored by the Election Center, a nonprofit association of voter registrars and elections administrators throughout America and the U.S Territories. Its membership is comprised of township, city, county and state elections officials and other election related organizations. The Center’s primary purpose is to promote and support continuous improvement in the administration of elections and voter registration through research, professional education, conferences, networking and consulting. Professional Education Program participants receive continuing education credit from Auburn University as well as professional training credits from the Election Center.