Maine Secretary of State

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Maine Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013-2014 FY Budget:  $7,692,779
Term limits:  4 two-year terms
Length of term:   Two years
Authority:  Maine Constitution, Article V, Part 2, The Executive Department
Selection Method:  Appointed by the governor
Current Officeholder

Matthew Dunlap.jpg
Name:  Matthew Dunlap
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 7, 2005
Compensation:  $69,264
Other Maine Executive Offices
GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorCommissioner of EducationAgriculture, Conservation and Forestry CommissionerSuperintendent of InsuranceLabor CommissionerPublic Utilities Commission
The Secretary of State for Maine is the state's chief elections officer. The secretary of state is also responsible for the Maine State Archives, as well as for chartering corporations. The Secretary of State is elected to four-year terms, concurrent with the other constitutional officers of Maine, and is restricted by term limits to only two terms.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Matthew Dunlap. He was confirmed for the position on December 4, 2012.[1]

The previous officeholder was Charles Summers Jr. He was elected to the office in 2010 by a Republican majority that controlled both houses of the State Legislature, the first Republican named to the position in 35 years.[2]


The state Constitution addresses the office of the secretary of state in Article V, Part 2, the Executive Department.

Under Article V, Part II, Section I:

The Secretary of State shall be chosen biennially at the first session of the Legislature, by joint ballot of the Senators and Representatives in convention.

Proposed elimination of office

In January 2015, Governor Paul LePage (R) and his advisers began creating legislation to eliminate the secretary's office in favor of a lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor would assume all of the duties of the secretary of state. LePage also wants the governor's office to select the attorney general and state treasurer instead of the Maine State Legislature. These changes would need to be approved by two-thirds of legislators and gain approval from the public during a statewide vote.[3]

In an interview with the Bangor Daily News, Secretary Dunlap recounted an exchange during LePage's 2015 swearing-in that confirmed the proposed constitutional changes. The proposal, currently under development in the governor's office, would pair the governor and lieutenant governor as a joint ticket during elections. Maine is one of five states that do not currently have a lieutenant governor. Similar legislation proposed in 1994 and 1995 failed to advance from the legislature.[3]


There are no specific qualifications for this office.


Maine state government organizational chart
See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

The Secretary of State is appointed by the governor and affirmed by a joint committee of both houses and then is reviewed by the senate. The committee approval stands unless the senate overrides it with a two-thirds majority vote. (Maine Constitution, Article V § 8)

Term limits

See also: State executives with term limits

The secretary of state is limited to four two-year terms.


Vacancies are addressed under Article V, Part II, Section 1-A.

If a vacancy occurs the first deputy secretary of state fills the role until a new secretary is elected by the legislature.


Duties of the secretary of state include:

  • Keeping the records of the state
  • Attending the Governor, Senate and House of Representatives as required
  • Keep and preserve the records of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor, Senate and House of Representatives

Role in the initiative process

Filing the initiative

The voter must submit a written application to the secretary of state which contains the names, addresses and signatures of 5 Maine registered voters. One of these voters must volunteer be responsible for receiving all the correspondence regarding the initiative. This application must be signed in the presence of the Secretary of State or a notary public and the full text of the initiative must be submitted with application.

Within 10 business days the secretary of state must review the application, reject, accept or provide a revised draft of the initiative legislation according to its legality and if it meets format guidelines. Upon reviewing this the applicant must sign their approval of the final language.

After receiving written consent from the applicant, the secretary of state must provide the ballot question to the applicant within 10 business days. Then Elections Division will provide an approved petition form to be circulated by the petitioners.

Verification and certification

The secretary of state shall review all petitions filed in the Department of the Secretary of State for a people's veto referendum under the Constitution of Maine.

The secretary of state shall determine the validity of the petition and issue a written decision stating the reasons for the decision within 30 days after the final date for filing.

The elections division

The Maine Secretary of State is responsible for the state's election division. As such, the secretary of state's website contains comprehensive information about the state's initiatives, along with election results, a history of all initiatives ever to appear on the ballot in Maine, and other important information. See external links below for further information.


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Maine Secretary of State has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

See also: Maine state budget and finances

The Secretary of State's budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 was $7,692,779.[4]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The secretary of state’s salary is determined by the Maine Legislative Council, an administrative body comprised of 10 elected members of legislative leadership. The Council establishes salaries for all legislative employees, unless otherwise determine by law. The Legislative Council may decide to adjust the salary of the secretary of state and attorney general for each year of continuous service.[5][6]


In 2014, the secretary earned a salary of $69,264, according to the Council of State Governments.[7]


In 2013, the secretary's salary remained at $69,264.[8]


In 2012, the secretary was paid an estimated $69,264. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Maine Secretary of State has not yet been added because the information was unavailable on the relevant state official websites, or we are currently in the process of formatting the list for this office. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

Recent news

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Contact Information

Capitol Address:

Office of the Secretary
Matthew Dunlap, Secretary of State
148 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0148

Phone: (207) 626-8400
Fax: (207) 287-8598

See also

External links

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