Massachusetts Secretary of State

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Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $220,670,341
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Massachusetts General Laws, Title 2, Chapter 9, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

William f galvin.jpg
Name:  William Francis Galvin
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  1995
Compensation:  $130,262
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Massachusetts Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSecretary of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerSecretary of Energy and Environmental AffairsSecretary of Labor and Workforce DevelopmentPublic Utilities Commission
The Secretary of the Commonwealth for Massachusetts (equivalent to the Secretary of State) is the principle public information official in the state of Massachusetts. The secretary oversees historical records and preservation, public records, and the registry of deeds.[1]

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Democrat William F. Galvin. He was first elected to the statewide position in 1994 and is now serving in his sixth consecutive term, having won re-election in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.[2]


The position of secretary is established by Title 2, Chapter 9, Section 1 of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

"There shall be a department of the state secretary under his supervision and control, organized as provided in this chapter." [3]


According to Article XVII of the Massachusetts Constitution, an executive officer of the commonwealth must "have been an inhabitant of this commonwealth five years next preceding his election or appointment."[4]


Massachusetts state government organizational chart

Massachusetts elects secretaries of the commonwealth in the midterm elections, that is, even years that are not presidential election years. For Massachusetts, 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 are all secretary election years.



See also: Massachusetts Secretary of State election, 2014
Secretary of State of Massachusetts, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngWilliam Galvin Incumbent 67.4% 1,395,616
     Republican David D'Arcangelo 28.9% 597,491
     Green Danny Factor 3.6% 74,789
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.1% 1,421
Total Votes 2,069,317
Election Results via Massachusetts Secretary of State.


If the office of the secretary becomes vacant during annual or special session of the general court, the public elects a successor, otherwise, "it shall be supplied by the governor by appointment, with the advice and consent of the council."[4]


Role in the initiative process

Massachusetts is one of the few states whose guidelines do not require proponents to file initiatives with the secretary of commonwealth first. In this state, one must first assemble 10 registered electors to sponsor a ballot. Then, with the full text of the ballot in had, they must arrive at the Election Commission or the board of registrars to file the petition. This must be done by the first Wednesday of August.

After the proponents have proven that they are registered voters, the attorney general will write a summary for the ballot and have it returned to the proponents. This is when the secretary of commonwealth file both the ballot language and the summary of the ballot. The secretary will then prepare blank petition forms with the summary printed on it for signature gathering. These forms will be available within 14 days of the submission. In order to pick these petition forms up from the printer, proponents must have an authorization slip from the secretary of commonwealth. Enough petition forms will be supplied to gather more than the required amount, but petitioners may print as many extra copies as they like.

Signature verification

Signatures must be filed by the first Wednesday of December. After the necessary number of signatures have been certified and subsequently filed with the secretary of the commonwealth, the secretary transmits the initiative petition to the House Clerk for legislative action on the first legislative day of the year.


Divisions of the Secretary of Commonwealth include:

  • Address Confidentiality Division
  • Citizen Information Service
  • Corporations Division
  • Elections Division
  • Massachusetts Archives
  • Public Record/Lobbyist
  • Registry of Deeds
  • Securities Division
  • State Records Center

State budget

See also: Massachusetts state budget and finances

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's budget for the 2013 fiscal year was $220,670,341.[5]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: M.G.L. Ch.9 §1

Massachusetts General Laws set the salary for the Secretary of the Commonwealth at $124,920, with an additional amount to be calculated according to the adjustment percentage addressed in the Massachusetts State Legislators Compensation Amendment. [6] In 1998, the Massachusetts State Legislators Compensation Amendment was passed, prohibiting state legislators from altering their base pay. Beginning in January 2001, compensation for public officials instead is adjusted (increased or decreased) every two years corresponding with changes in median household income for Massachusetts’s residents.[7]

In 2014, a seven member Special Advisory Commission was created by Section 239 of the Articles of Amendment to the Constitution to review and compare the compensation of Massachusetts’s public officials to other states.[8] [9]


In 2014, the secretary earned a salary of $130,262, according to the Council of State Governments.[10]


In 2013, the secretary earned a salary of $130,262, according to the Council of State Governments.[11]


In 2012, the secretary earned a salary of $130,916, according to the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the secretary earned a salary of $130,916, according to the Council of State Governments.[12]

Historical officeholders

Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for chronological lists of historical officeholders. That information for the Massachusetts 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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Massachusetts Secretary of State - Google News Feed

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Contact information

Capitol Address:[13]

Secretary of the Commonwealth
One Ashburton Place, Room 1611
Boston, MA 02108-1512

Phone: (617) 727-7030
Toll Free Phone: 1-800-392-6090
Fax: (617) 742-4528

See also

External links

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