Heard earns national election professional certification

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Carol P. Heard, Chief Elections Official with the Decatur County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, has been designated as a Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA), the highest professional achievement, in training conducted by the Election Center.

CERA/CERV designation is achieved only through a multi-year course of study conducted by The Election Center’s Professional Education Program and completion of 12 core courses taught by the Master’s in Public Administration faculty of Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., ranging from ethics, to voter registration and elections law, planning, communications, and voter participation, among others.  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,” said Tim Mattice, director of the Center. The 2018 graduating class of 58 professionals takes us to 1,110 election officials and election vendors who have achieved the CERA/CERV status.  This is an outstanding accomplishment.”

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“Decatur County is indeed fortunate to have Mrs. Heard 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 Georgia and the nation,” he stated.

The Professional Education Program is sponsored by The Election Center, a non-profit association of voter registrars and elections administrators throughout America.  Its membership is comprised of township, city, county and state elections officials and other election related corporations.  The Center’s primary purpose is education for local and state voter registrars and elections officials to promote and improve the democratic process. Professional Education Program participants receive continuing education credit from Auburn University as well as professional training credits from The Election Center.

Heard started working with the Board of Elections in September 2014 as its clerk of voter registration. She was promoted to the chief election official in September 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida.

“Graduating from The Election Center has been a tremendous experience but learning from others around the country and state has been a great benefit to me and I believe to the voters in Decatur County,” Heard said. “I have always felt my job was special, but this program emphasized the ethical commitment we have to the democratic process and our role in protecting the public’s interest.”