Misty M. Smithey is seeking re-election to a second term as Wilkes County Register of Deeds in the March 3 Republican primary.
Smithey is in her third year as the elected register of deeds and worked in the office a little over 12 years before that.
Soon after she was first elected, she started the process of making deeds and certain other records in the office available online. “Safety and security is of the upmost importance when records are made available online so deeds and other real estate records went through an OCR optical character recognition process to redact sensitive information that could be used in identity theft or fraud,” said Smithey.
Grantor and grantee land records in the register of deeds office back to 1972, index books back to 1926, plat map index, restrictive covenant index and assumed name index from the office are available through a new website built to provide this access. A fax machine and scanning capabilities were added and all staff in the office now have email addresses. Through ncvitals.com, a new program implemented, people can request and pay for birth, death or marriage certificates online and receive them by mail.
Staff of the Vital Records Division of the N.C. Department of Health and Human services provided six hours of training on Electronic Birth Registration Systems (EBRS), which allows a register of deeds to certify birth records under his or her seal. With EBRS, citizens born in any county in the state can obtain their certified birth certificates. Corrections, amendments, legitimations and similar process can now be done online instead of through the mail.
A new notary public system was installed, allowing oaths and certificates to be sent and received digitally. A credit card swipe system was installed for accepting electronic payments. Starting in February, the public will be able to electronically record (e-file) real estate transactions. A new plat map scanner was installed to record maps digitally.
Old maps made for building the Blue Ridge Parkway, the site of W. Kerr Scott Reservoir before the dam was built, a 20-page architectural linen set of maps for building the railroad tracks between Elkin and North Wilkesboro were sent off for a process that preserves them. Steps have been taken to clean, mend and preserve other old county records. Worn and broken furniture in the office was replaced and a local cabinetmaker built oak shelving to safely house old land record books.
The “Wilkes County Register of Deeds Thank a Veteran Program,” which provides discounts for veterans at no charge to them at almost 100 participating businesses, was implemented. Over 1,000 veterans have signed up.
The Wilkes Register of Deeds office hosted District 11 of the N.C. Association of Registers of Deeds. Smithey helped host the association’s fall conference where all 100 counties were represented. Smithey secured several local businesses as sponsors. As a member of the association’s vital records committee, she is helping to write a new Vital Records Procedural Manual for all 100 register of deeds offices in the state.
Smithey became a certified register of deeds through the UNC School of Government and recently sent a deputy register of deeds in her office for certification as well. Smithey said she attends evening meetings to learn about businesses her office works with, such as surveying, and sets up tables at events to inform people about the register of deeds office.
Smithey, 42, lives in Wilkesboro with her three children, Jacob, Josiah and Jenny.