California Secretary of State
|California Secretary of State|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Term limits:||2 terms|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||California Constitution, Article 5, Section 11|
|Assumed office:||January 2007|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|Other California Executive Offices|
|Governor • Lieutenant Governor • Secretary of State • Attorney General • Treasurer • Auditor • Controller • Superintendent of Public Instruction • Agriculture Secretary • Insurance Commissioner • Natural Resources Secretary • Industrial Relations Director • Public Utilities Commission|
The current secretary is Debra Bowen, a Democrat, who was first elected to the office in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Bowen's current term will end in January 2015, after which she will be constitutionally barred from holding office by term limits.
Before becoming secretary of state, Bowen served eight years in the California State Senate from 1998 to 2006. Prior to that, she spent eight years in the California State Assembly from 1992 to 1998. Before entering politics, she practiced corporate, tax and ERISA law at the firms of Winston and Strawn and Hughes, Hubbard & Reed. Her husband is Mark Nechodom, Senior Advisor for Environmental Markets in the office of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
The office of secretary of state is established by the California Constitution.
The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor.
Although there are no office-specific requirements for the office, each candidate for secretary of state must:
- Be a registered voter
- Be registered with their party for at least three months
- Not have been registered with a different political party in the last 12 months
- Not have been previously term-limited out
Secretaries of state are elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in federal midterm election years, e.g. 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. Like all constitutional state officers, the secretary of state assumes office on the first Monday in the new year following the election. Thus, January 3, 2011 and January 5, 2015 are inaugural days.
The Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, and Treasurer shall be elected at the same time and places and for the same term as the Governor. No Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, or Treasurer may serve in the same office for more than 2 terms.
The vacancy procedure for the office of secretary of state is determined by the Constitution. When a vacancy occurs, the governor nominates a replacement to serve the remainder of the term under the next election. The appointee must be confirmed by a majority of both house of the California legislature. Until the replacement is approved, the former officeholder's chief deputy exercises the office.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, or Attorney General, or on the State Board of Equalization, the Governor shall nominate a person to fill the vacancy who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority of the membership of the Senate and a majority of the membership of the Assembly and who shall hold office for the balance of the unexpired term. In the event the nominee is neither confirmed nor refused confirmation by both the Senate and the Assembly within 90 days of the submission of the nomination, the nominee shall take office as if he or she had been confirmed by a majority of the Senate and Assembly; provided, that if such 90-day period ends during a recess of the Legislature, the period shall be extended until the sixth day following the day on which the Legislature reconvenes.
The secretary of state's duties include:
- Serving as the state's Chief Elections Officer
- Implementing electronic filing and Internet disclosure of campaign and lobbyist financial information
- Maintaining business filings
- Commissioning notaries public
- Operating the Safe at Home Confidential Address Program
- Maintaining the Domestic Partners and Advance Health Care Directive Registries
- Safeguarding the State Archives
- Serving as a trustee of the California Museum for History, Women & the Arts
The Secretary of State oversees 5 divisions. These are:
- Elections and Voter Information
- Campaign and Lobbying Information
- California Business Portal
- Archives and the California Museum
In 2010, the secretary of state received compensation in the amount of $130,490. The secretary's salary, like that of all other state elected officials, is determined by the California Citizens Compensation Commission on an annual basis. The last time the secretary's compensation was changed was 2009, when the office's salary and benefits were cut by 18 percent.
Contact InformationCapitol Address:
1500 11th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 653-6814
- ↑ California Secretary of State's official website, "Secretary of State Debra Bowen," accessed September 24, 2012
- ↑ California Secretary of State, "About Debra Bowen," accessed July 7, 2011.
- ↑ California Secretary of State, "Summary of Qualifications and Requirements for June 8, 2010 Primary Election... Secretary of State, Controller, or Treasurer," accessed June 23, 2011.
- ↑ California Elections Code, "Sections 1001-1003," accessed June 23, 2011.
- ↑ California Secretary of State, "About the Agency," accessed June 23, 2011.
- ↑ California Secretary of State, "Organizational Chart," accessed June 23, 2011.
- ↑ Council of State Governments, "Book of the States 2010 -- Table 4.11," accessed June 23, 2011.