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Secretary of State office comparison

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The Secretary of State position differs between the 47 states that have the office. The position does not exist in Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah. In those states, the Lieutenant Governor is in charge of those responsibilities that ordinarily a secretary of state would hold. In three states, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the office is called the Secretary of the Commonwealth. From state to state, the secretary of state position is one of the offices whose responsibilities vary the most.

Many of the responsibilities held by the position are administrative. Most are tasked with keeping state records, from registering businesses to recording the official acts of the Governor. The officeholder also often serves as the chief election official in their state, administering state elections and maintaining official election results. The commissioning and regulation of notaries public, keeping of the official state seal, and certification of official documents all typically fall under the purview of the secretary of state. Some oversee securities regulation, head the department of motor vehicles, monitor charitable giving, oversee the preparation of extraditions and warrants, direct the state libraries or museums, maintain the state capitol, commission notaries public, and participate in the state’s international trade activities. Major issue areas include elections, registration, filing, licensing, custodial duties, and publishing.

Political parties

The chart below is a breakdown of the political parties pertaining to the state executive office of secretary of state. For other state executive offices, click here.

Office Democratic Party Democratic Republican Party Republican Independent Independent Nonpartisan Total seats
Secretary of State

20

26

0

1

47
Counts current as of April 2014. If you see an error, please email us

Current officeholders

List of All Current State Secretaries of State in the United States
StateOfficerAssumed officePolitical Party
North Dakota
Al Jaeger
1992
Ends.png Republican
Kentucky
Alison Lundergan Grimes
2012
Electiondot.png Democratic
Idaho
Ben Ysursa
2003
Ends.png Republican
Georgia
Brian Kemp
2010
Ends.png Republican
Pennsylvania
Carol Aichele
2011
Ends.png Republican
New York
Cesar Perales
2011
Non-partisan
Oklahoma
Chris Benge
2013
Ends.png Republican
Indiana
Connie Lawson
2012
Ends.png Republican
California
Debra Bowen
2007
Electiondot.png Democratic
Mississippi
Delbert Hosemann
2007
Ends.png Republican
Connecticut
Denise Merrill
2011
Electiondot.png Democratic
New Mexico
Dianna Duran
2011
Ends.png Republican
Wisconsin
Douglas J. La Follette
1983
Electiondot.png Democratic
North Carolina
Elaine Marshall
1996
Electiondot.png Democratic
South Dakota
Jason Gant
2011
Ends.png Republican
Missouri
Jason Kander
2013
Electiondot.png Democratic
Delaware
Jeffrey W. Bullock
2009
Electiondot.png Democratic
Illinois
Jesse White
1999
Electiondot.png Democratic
Alabama
Jim Bennett
2013
Ends.png Republican
Vermont
Jim Condos
2011
Electiondot.png Democratic
Nebraska
John A. Gale
2000
Ends.png Republican
Maryland
John P. McDonough
2008
Electiondot.png Democratic
Ohio
Jon Husted
2010
Ends.png Republican
Oregon
Kate Brown
2008
Electiondot.png Democratic
Arizona
Ken Bennett
2009
Ends.png Republican
Florida
Ken Detzner
2012
Ends.png Republican
New Jersey
Kimberly "Kim" Guadagno
2010
Ends.png Republican
Washington
Kim Wyman
2013
Ends.png Republican
Kansas
Kris Kobach
2011
Ends.png Republican
Virginia
Levar Stoney
2014
Electiondot.png Democratic
Montana
Linda McCulloch
2008
Electiondot.png Democratic
South Carolina
Mark Hammond
2003
Ends.png Republican
Arkansas
Mark Martin
2011
Ends.png Republican
Minnesota
Mark Ritchie
2007
Electiondot.png Democratic
Iowa
Matt Schultz
2011
Ends.png Republican
Maine
Matthew Dunlap
2012
Electiondot.png Democratic
Wyoming
Max Maxfield
2007
Ends.png Republican
Texas
Nandita Berry
2014
Ends.png Republican
West Virginia
Natalie Tennant
2009
Electiondot.png Democratic
Rhode Island
Ralph Mollis
2007
Electiondot.png Democratic
Nevada
Ross Miller
2006
Electiondot.png Democratic
Michigan
Ruth Johnson
2010
Ends.png Republican
Colorado
Scott Gessler
2011
Ends.png Republican
Louisiana
John Thomas Schedler
2010
Ends.png Republican
Tennessee
Tre Hargett
2009
Ends.png Republican
Massachusetts
William Francis Galvin
1995
Electiondot.png Democratic
New Hampshire
William M. Gardner
1976
Electiondot.png Democratic


Term Limits

Main article: State executives with term limits and Secretaries of State with term limits
32 states do not have term limits for the Secretary of State

32 states do not have term limits for the office of Secretary of State. Maine allows 4 terms, but the length of the term of the Maine Secretary of State is only two years. Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, and South Dakota specify two consecutive terms, while Montana limits officeholders to two terms (eight years) in a 16 year period and Oregon limits officeholders to eight years (two terms) in a 12 year period. The rest of the states who have term limits have a hard two term maximum.

States with term limits include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota


Term Length

The majority of the term lengths for the Secretary of State's offices are four years. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, are limited to two years, and Maryland, Florida and Delaware's secretaries serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
Both Texas and New Jersey secretaries serve terms concurrent with their appointing governors.

Authority

38 offices of the Secretaries of state get their power from original articles in their states' constitutions. Those that do not include:

  • Massachusetts, which gets its power from the Massachusetts General Laws, Title 2, Chapter 9, Section 1
  • New York, from the NY Code - Section 90
  • Florida, from the Florida Statutes, 20.10
  • Rhode Island, from the Rhode Island general laws, Section 42-8-1
  • Virginia, from the Code of Virginia, Title 2.2, Chapter 4
  • Wisconsin, from the Wisconsin State Code, Chapter 14.36

The legislature of Wisconsin is considering abolishing the office of the Secretary of State for Wisconsin. October 2013 marked the sixth legislative session in which the topic was brought up. State representative Michael Schraa believes that more and more duties that originally were the responsibility of the Secretary are now under the jurisdiction of other parts of government. “Simply put, time has passed these old positions by. Their previous work is now done in other areas of government. These positions are now just symbolic in nature and merely relics of the past,” he said. The current Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette disagrees. "If we're going to be open for business and Wisconsin's going to be competitive, we should restore the important business functions,” La Follette wrote in a statement for the legislature. For the removal of the office to happen, it would require approval in two consecutive legislative sessions before going to voters in a constitutional referendum.[1]

Budget

The difference in budgets for the offices across the states for 2012 reached $398,075,092. Nebraska had the smallest budget, spending only $444,708 a year on the secretaries office while Illinois spent the most with a budget of $398,519,800. This can be because while some states only maintain a staff of 4 in the secretary's office, other offices can have up to 4,000.[2]

States with the highest budgets
1 Illinois $398,519,800
2 Massachusetts $220,670,341
3 Michigan $219,548,900
4 New York $135,839,000
5 California $103,186,000
States with the lowest budgets
1 Nebraska $444,708
2 Wisconsin $513,600
3 New Hampshire $751,339
4 West Virginia $1,307,638
5 Tennessee $1,544,900

Salary While the salaries also differ, they do not necessarily coincide with the budgets. While Tennessee is on our top five lowest budgets chart, the Secretary had the highest compensation of all the states at $182,000. In fact, of the top five highest budgets, only Illinois has a compensation also ranked in the top five. Of the low budgets, Wisconsin is the only duplicate in both the low budget and low compensation charts.

States with the highest compensations
1 Tennessee $182,000
2 Illinois $156,600
3 Virginia $152,793
4 New Jersey $141,000
5 Florida $140,000
States with the lowest compensations
1 Arkansas $54,594
2 Colorado $68,500
3 Wisconsin $68,556
4 Maine $69,264
5 Arizona $70,000

The table below can be sorted by state, budget, or compensation of the Secretary of State.

State 2012 Budget 2012 Compensation
Alabama 7360797 79,580
Arizona 16,812,400 70,000
Arkansas 26,507,761 54,594
California 103,186,000 130,490
Colorado 19,893,142 68,500
Connecticut 8,880,652 110,000
Delaware 3,828,900 120,755
Florida 8584896 140,000
Georgia 32572296 123,636
Idaho 2308300 103,984
Illinois 398,519,800 156,600
Indiana 6336270 72,974
Iowa 2970585 103,212
Kansas 6,059,648 86,003
Kentucky 4,069,200 113,615
Louisiana 72,350,926 115,000
Maine 7,692,779 69,264
Maryland 2,294,369 87,500
Massachusetts 220,670,341 130,916
Michigan 219,548,900 124,900
Minnesota 5,938,000 90,227
Mississippi 12,171,320 90,000
Missouri 39,788,125 107,746
Montana 5,378,477 79,129
Nebraska 444708 85,000
Nevada 14068107 97,000
New Hampshire 751339 110,114
New Jersey 3376000 141,000
New Mexico 5405300 85,000
New York 135839000 120,800
North Carolina 11519000 123,198
North Dakota 16113144 87,728
Ohio 21334826 109,554
Oklahoma 3389000 90,000
Oregon 61698719 72,000
Pennsylvania 9109000 131,992
Rhode Island 7615856 108,808
South Carolina 2251369 92,007
South Dakota 4489775 78,363
Tennessee 1544900 182,800
Texas 26214760 125,880
Vermont 8527442 90,376
Virginia 1915830 152,793
Washington 75450000 116,950
West Virginia 1307638 95,000
Wisconsin 513600 68,556
Wyoming 7899984 92,000

Elected or appointed

35 states directly elect Secretaries of State. Others are appointed by either the governor or state legislature.

In 35 states, the position is popularly elected. The remaining 12 offices are filled by appointment: 9 by the Governor and 3 by the state legislature. Of the 35 elected to office, 27 are Republican and 18 are Democratic.

States (9) in which secretaries are appointed by the governor include:

States (3) in which secretaries are appointed by the state legislature include:

Quick facts about Secretaries of State
  • There are 27 Republican, 19 Democratic, and 1 Non-Partisan secretaries of state.
  • No states had secretary of state elections in the 2013 electoral cycle, 26 will have elections in 2014.

Duties

Almost all secretaries of state issue corporation charters, administer election law, register trade marks, maintain Legislative Bills, Acts, and Records, publish a state manual or directory, publish session laws and abstracts of votes, and attest executive documents. Some have many more responsibilities, and others do less. Ballotpedia has compiled a snapshot of notable difference. For full details, the National Association of Secretaries of State and the Book of States by the Council of State Governments have produced a chart on responsibilities for each state. Find what's different about your state's secretary below.[2]

  • 12 secretaries are in responsible for enrolling bills
  • 20 secretaries register lobbyists
  • 32 secretaries maintain state archives



Alabama
The Secretary of State of Alabama is also a member of the State Board of Pardons. This secretary does not publish a state directory or abstract of votes but he or she does issue land patents and extradition and requisition papers.

Arizona
Although the Secretary of State of Alaska registers charitable organizations, the secretary is one of the few that does not register corporations.

Arkansas
The Secretary of State of Arkansas does not publish a state directory or abstract of votes.

California
The Secretary of State of California does not publish session laws, but does attest Governor issued land patents.

Colorado
The Secretary of State of Colorado is also a member of the executive council, the state board of education, and the state board of canvassers.

Delaware
The Secretary of State of Delaware is not the custodian of the state archive. The secretary is not the chief elections officer but is a member of the state board of elections.

Florida
The Secretary of State of Floridais not the custodian of the state archive, but is a member of both the state board of elections and the state board of education. The Secretary is not responsible for conducting voter education programs.

Georgia
The Secretary of State of Georgia issues charters only for banks, insurance, railroad, canal, navigation, express, and telegraph companies. The Secretary also registers securities but does not publish session laws or abstracts of votes.

Idaho
The Secretary of State of Idaho is also a member of the state board of pardons, the state land board, and the state board of canvassers.

Illinois
The Secretary of State of Illinois also registers motor vehicles as well as securities for the state and is a member of the state board of canvassers. The Secretary in this state is not the chief elections officer.

Indiana
The Secretary of State of Indiana also registers securities and issues land permits.

Iowa
The Secretary of State of Iowa does not maintain the state archives, publish a state directory, or publish session laws but is a member of the executive council.

Kansas
The Secretary of State of Kansas does not maintain the state archives but is a member of both the executive council and the state board of canvassers.

Kentucky
The Secretary of State of Kentucky is also a member of the state land board and issues land permits. The Secretary does not publish a state directory or session laws.

Maine
The Secretary of State of Maine also registers motor vehicles but does not publish a state directory or session laws.

Maryland
The Secretary of State of Maryland does not issue corporation charters, maintain the state archives, publish session laws or act as the custodian of legislative bills, acts, or records. This is mainly because here the Secretary is not the chief election officer. The Secretary is a member of the state board of canvassers.

Michigan
The Secretary of State of Michigan does not issue corporation charters but does register motor vehicles and issue land permits. The Secretary is also a member of the executive council and the state board of canvassers.

Minnesota
The Secretary of State of Minnesota does not publish session laws, but does register motor vehicles and is a member of the executive council and the state board of canvassers.

Mississippi
The Secretary of State of Mississippi also registers securities and is a member of the state board of education. The Secretary does not maintain the state archive.

Missouri
In addition to the duties listed, the Secretary of State of Missouri registers motor vehicles, registers securities, and is a member of the state board of education.

Montana
The Secretary of State of Montana does not maintain the state archive but is a member of the state board of pardons and the state land board.

Nebraska
The Secretary of State of Nebraska is also a member of the state board of pardons, the state land board, and the state board of canvassers.

Nevada
The Secretary of State of Nevada also registers motor vehicles and is a member of the state board of canvassers but does not maintain the state archive.

New Hampshire
The Secretary of State of New Hampshire is not responsible for voter education programs.

New Jersey
The Secretary of State of New Jersey is also a member of the state board of pardons and the state board of canvassers. The Secretary does not publish a state directory or abstracts of votes.

New Mexico
The Secretary of State of New Mexico does not issue corporation charters. The Secretary is a member of the state board of canvassers.

New York
The Secretary of State of New York does not maintain state archives but is a member of the state land board and issues land permits. The Secretary is not the chief election official

North Carolina
The Secretary of State of North Carolina is also a member of the executive council and issues land permits. The secretary is not the chief election official and does not administer election laws.

Ohio
The Secretary of State of Ohio does not maintain the state archive. The Secretary is a member of the state board of canvassers.

Oklahoma
The Secretary of State of Oklahoma is also a member of the state land board. The Secretary is not the chief election official, so he or she does not administer election law. The Secretary does not publish a state directory, session laws, or abstracts of votes.

Oregon
The Secretary of State of Oregon does not issue corporation charters but is the registrar of motor vehicles. Oregon's Secretary is also a member of the state board of education, the state land board, and the state board of canvassers.

Pennsylvania
The Secretary of State of Pennsylvania does not maintain the state archive o publish state directories or abstracts of votes. The Secretary is a member of the executive council, the state board of pardons, and the state land board.

South Carolina
The Secretary of State of South Carolina does not publish state directories, session laws, or abstracts of votes. The Secretary is not the chief election official but is a member of the state board of canvassers.

South Dakota
The Secretary of State of South Dakota also registers motor vehicles and is a member of the state board of pardons.

Tennessee
The Secretary of State of Tennessee is not the chief election official and does not maintain state archives or publish abstracts of votes.

Texas
The Secretary of State of Texas also registers securities and is a member of the state board of canvassers.

Virginia
The Secretary of State of Virginia does not issue corporation charters, register trademarks, or maintain state archives. The Secretary also is not responsible for custody of legislative bills, acts, and records, and does not publish session laws. The secretary is not the chief election official but is a member of the state board of canvassers.

Washington
The Secretary of State of Washington does not maintain the state archive, but is a member of the state land board and the state board of canvassers.

West Virginia
The Secretary of State of West Virginia does not maintain state archives, publish state directories, or publish session laws.

Wisconsin
The Secretary of State of Wisconsin is also a member of the state land board and the state board of canvassers. The Secretary is not the chief election official and does not publish a state directory.

Wyoming
In addition to the other duties listed above, the Secretary of State of Wyoming also registers motor vehicles and registers securities. The Secretary is also a member of the state board of pardons, the state land board, and the state board of canvassers.

See also

Other comparison articles

External links

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References