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An Overview of the Duties and Responsibilites of NH Town Clerks

All NH Town Clerks are elected (City Clerks are appointed by City Council) and must live within the town in which they serve. The Town Clerk appoints the Deputy Town Clerk and the appointment is subject to approval of the Selectmen. The Deputy must also be a resident of the town and able to perform all the duties of the Town Clerk.  As a town official, the Town Clerk is not an employee of the town. The clerk may set their own office hours and take what vacation and sick time they feel they can, while still providing the service their constituents expect. 


While most people are familiar with the fact that the Town Clerk is responsible for vehicle registration, there are other duties and functions that are not as well known. These responsibilities are many and varied and are governed by State of New Hampshire RSA’s and Administrative Rules. The following is a partial listing:


  • Issue motor vehicle registrations

  • Issue dog licenses

  • Issue marriage licenses

  • Record and provide certified copies of vital records (birth, death, and marriage)

  • Record and preserve public records of the Town

  • Record and certify minutes of Town Meetings

  • Accept voter registrations to be forwarded to Supervisors of the Checklist

  • Assist in conducting and coordinating Federal, State, and Local Elections

  • Administer Oath of Office to all elected and appointed officials

  • Keeper of the Town seal

  • Review and process Dredge and Fill Applications

  • Review, process and record Pole Licenses


In addition to the above responsibilities mandated by State Statute, the Acworth Town Clerk’s Office:


  • Issue decals for registration permits (within limits permitted by the State of NH)

  • Issue license plates (within limits permitted by the State of NH)

  • Provides Notary Public services

  • Pursues payment for checks returned by financial institutions for non­-sufficient funds, etc.

  • Aids the public in performing genealogy searches

  • Responds to inquiries from the general public


Town Clerks are governed by the following State and Federal Agencies:


  • NH Department of Safety (Motor Vehicle Division)

    • Bureau of Registration

    • Bureau of Title and Anti­Theft

    • Bureau of Financial Responsibility

  • NH Department of Agriculture (Animal Industry Division)

  • NH Secretary of State

    • Division of Vital Records Administration

    • Division of Archives and Records Management

    • Election Division

      • US compliance with HAVA and ADA requirements

  • NH Department of Environmental Services (Wetlands Bureau)

  • NH Office of Information Technology

  • NH Department of Revenue Administration


Accounts of the Town Clerk are audited by the Town’s Auditors and various State Auditors.


The money collected by the Clerk is given to the Town Treasurer to deposit into the town account. Money collected on behalf of the DMV is deposited by the Clerk into the State DMV account. All other State fees collected are first paid to the Acworth Town Treasurer, and then forwarded to the various state departments along with their corresponding report.


The State of New Hampshire provides many workshops during the course of the year in order to keep Town Clerks up ­to ­date with the ever­changing requirements of local, State, and Federal agencies. Some are mandatory in order for Clerk’s to maintain certification. Some are a result of new government programs. In addition to these workshops, the New Hampshire City and Town Clerk’s Association provides clerks with an informative monthly newsletter.


Clerks can be compensated in the form of statutory fees collected, or a set salary in lieu of fees collected, or a combination of both. (Examples of statutory fees are: $1 per registration; $1 per dog license, etc.) Like all town departments, the Town Clerk’s budget is submitted to the Selectman each year for review, approval, and inclusion in the Town Warrant. Currently, the Acworth Town Clerk  is compensated with a salary.


NH Town Clerk Directory

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