Georgia Secretary of State
|Georgia Secretary of State|
|Office website:||Official Link|
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Georgia Constitution, Article V, Section 3, Paragraph I|
|Assumed office:||January 2010|
|Next election:||November 4, 2014|
|Last election:||November 2, 2010|
|Other Georgia Executive Offices|
|Governor•Lieutenant Governor•Secretary of State•Attorney General•Treasurer•Auditor•Superintendent of Schools•Agriculture Commissioner•Insurance Commissioner•Natural Resources Commissioner•Labor Commissioner•Public Service Commission|
Responsibilities of the secretary's office include supervising and monitoring elections and providing campaign finance disclosure; managing and preserving public records; providing educational programs about the capitol; and licensing, monitoring, and registering professionals and businesses. The office includes the divisions of archives, elections, corporations, securities and business regulation, professional licensing boards, and the state capitol. Attached agencies are the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, State Ethics Commission, and the Georgia Real Estate Commission and Appraisers Board.
The current secretary of state is Brian Kemp, who became only the second Republican since Reconstruction to hold the office when he was appointed to fill the vacancy left by Karen Handel in January 2010. Kemp owns and operates Kemp Properties, a "small business specializing in real estate investments and property management." He served in the Georgia State Senate from 2002-2006, where he chaired the public safety & homeland security and higher education committees.
Kemp holds a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia. He and his wife, Marty, reside in Athens, GA with their three children. Kemp is a practicing Episcopalian.
The Secretary of State... shall be elected in the manner prescribed for the election of members of the General Assembly and the electors shall be the same.
- Must have been a citizen of the United States for 10 years
- Must have been a legal resident of the state for four years immediately preceding election or appointment
- Must have attained the age of 25 years by the date of assuming office.
The secretary of state is elected to four year terms during federal midterm election years (2006, 2010, 2014, etc.). All Georgia constitutional executive officers take office on the same day the Georgia Legislature begins its session, i.e. the second Monday of January in the year following their election.
There are no term limits for the secretary of state.
Per Article V, Section 2, Paragraph VIII of the Georgia Constitution, the governor fills vacancies in the office of secretary of state by appointment. The appointee must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Georgia Senate and serves out the remainder of the previous officeholder's term.
The primary duties of the secretary of state are to: register corporations in the state of Georgia, run the state's election system, oversee licensure of certain professions, and regulate the state's securities market. Additionally, the secretary of state maintains the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta and the Georgia State Archives.
The office of the secretary of state coordinates and monitors all election activity: this includes voter registration; municipal, state, county, and federal elections; campaign finance disclosure for state and federal candidates and political action committees; and certification of election results.
The Georgia State Capitol office also is responsible for certifying the qualification of candidates and the preparation of ballots and election forms and materials. As a result of legislation passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2001, the office is responsible for removing the names of deceased electors from the voter registration lists statewide. The secretary chairs the State Election Board, which investigates election fraud and enforces state election law. As part of an effort to modernize state election procedures, the Twenty-first Century Voting Commission and the secretary of state's office worked to establish a statewide uniform election system, which was implemented for the first time in November 2002.
The secretary's office receives campaign finance disclosure and personal finance disclosure forms from candidates for state offices. Since June 30, 2001, all statewide candidates have been required to file their disclosure reports electronically so that the reports may be posted on the secretary of state's Web site. Although the secretary's office receives and makes campaign finance disclosure reports available to the public, disclosure violations are investigated by the State Ethics Commission, which is granted the authority to administer the Ethics in Government Act. This commission is responsible for overseeing the disclosure reports of an estimated 6,000 public officials of state, county, and municipal governments in Georgia, the registration of lobbyists and maintenance of lobbyist disclosure reports, and maintenance of vendor disclosure reports.
As part of its mandated duties, the office of the secretary of state is responsible for public records, such as maps, surveys, grants, agency rules and regulations, and laws. This material is made publicly available through the Georgia Code.
The state archives division collects, manages, preserves, and makes available for research the official records of Georgia from 1732 until the present. Included among the archival materials are historical land records, records of state and local governments, and records and photographs of families, businesses, civic organizations, and churches. The division coordinates the work of the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board and, under the direction of the State Records Committee, manages all state records.
The Georgia Capitol Museum, updated in 2000 and housed on the fourth floor of the capitol, provides information and displays about Georgia history and contains many Georgia artifacts.
The Capitol Education program serves as an educational forum for state government. It holds public events throughout the year both to inform the public about legislative processes and to provide an additional site for legislative hearings to receive public input. Additionally, the secretary's office is responsible for providing tours of the capitol. The Georgia Commission on the Holocaust is attached to the office of the secretary of state. The mission of this body is to provide Holocaust education programs for teachers and students of Georgia's middle and high schools and to the general public.
In its regulatory capacity, the office of the secretary of state provides education and examinations, issues licenses and collects license fees, investigates complaints or violations of the law, and issues reprimands.
The corporations division registers and regulates foreign and domestic corporations and others seeking to do business in the state. It also registers and regulates nonprofit organizations and other types of corporate activities. Another function of this division is the registration of trademarks and service marks.
The professional licensing boards division provides administrative and investigative support for thirty-four occupational and professional regulatory boards in sixty-four trades and professions, regulating more than 700,000 active and inactive licensees to provide consumer protection. Duties include reviewing and approving licenses to practice, scheduling examinations, issuing licenses and collecting fees, investigating violations, and resolving complaints. In 1999 this board moved to a facility in Macon in order to improve customer service and accessibility.
The securities and business regulation division regulates investment advisors, the issuance and sale of securities, and the solicitation of charitable contributions. This division is also responsible for registering cemeteries, auditing perpetual care trusts, and regulating perpetual care cemeteries and paid solicitors.
The Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency provides support for the State Board of Pharmacy by providing inspections and investigations of pharmacies and by enforcing state laws governing controlled substances and poisons. The agency also is responsible for destroying expired and outdated controlled substances.
The Georgia Real Estate Commission provides regulation for real estate brokers and salespersons, as well as support for the Georgia Real Estate Appraisers Board. To ensure efficiency and fairness in all qualifying examinations, the commission contracts for the development and administration of the exams. Tests are given by computer, and applicants receive their results on the day of the examination.
- Archives and History
- Professional Licensing Boards
- Securities and Business Regulation
- Capitol Tours and Information Desk
- Capitol Museum
- Press Office
- Executive Offices
In 2010, the secretary of state received a salary of $123,636. His compensation is determined by law.
Contact informationCapitol Address:
214 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Telephone: (404) 656-2881
Fax: (404) 656-0513
- Georgia Transparency in Government Initiative
- Secretary of State website
- Secretary of State, New Georgia Encyclopedia