Arizona Secretary of State
|State executive officials|
Arizona's secretary of state is unique, as he or she serves as acting governor when the governor is absent or otherwise unable to serve. This duty is usually fulfilled by the lieutenant governor in other states, an office which Arizona lacks.
The current secretary of state is Ken Bennett, who was appointed by former Secretary of State Jan Brewer to replace her on January 26, 2009 after she won election as governor. He won election to a full term in 2010, defeating Democratic candidate Chris Deschere.
Before becoming secretary of state, Bennett served four terms in the state Senate, from 1999 to 2007, with the last four as Senate president. Before joining the legislature, he was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education for seven years; he also served on the Arizona Charter Schools Board. His public service career began with election to the Prescott City Council in 1985, during which he was named mayor pro tempore.
The office of secretary of state is established by the Arizona Constitution as part of the state's executive department.
Arizona Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 (Version 2)
|The executive department shall consist of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction...|
The Arizona Constitution requires all of the officers in the state's executive department, including the secretary of state, to be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen for 10 years, and an Arizona resident for five years.
Arizona Constitution, Article 5, Section 2
|No person shall be eligible to any of the offices mentioned in section 1 of this article except a person of the age of not less than twenty-five years, who shall have been for ten years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States, and for five years next preceding his election a citizen of Arizona.|
Arizonans elect their secretary of state in midterm election years (2006, 2010, 2014, etc.) for a term of four years. The winner assumes office on the first Monday of January after his or her election. If no candidates receives a majority (over 50%) of the votes, a run-off election is held between the two candidates that received the largest amount. If the two candidates in the run-off receive an equal number of votes, the state legislature chooses a winner.
Arizona Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 (Version 2)
| A. The executive department shall consist of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction, each of whom shall hold office for a term of four years beginning on the first Monday of January, 1971 next after the regular general election in 1970.
B. B. The person having a majority of the votes cast for the office voted for shall be elected. If no person receives a majority of the votes cast for the office, a second election shall be held as prescribed by law between the persons receiving the highest and second highest number of votes cast for the office. The person receiving the highest number of votes at the second election for the office is elected, but if the two persons have an equal number of votes for the office, the two houses of the legislature at its next regular session shall elect forthwith, by joint ballot, one of such persons for said office.
Secretaries of state, like all state executives, are limited to two consecutive terms. One may run for office once more after being out of office for one full term.
The governor may fill vacancies in the office of secretary of state by appointment.
The secretary of state has a variety of administrative duties, mostly related to keeping official records. The secretary, among other responsibilities:
- Serves as acting governor when the governor is absent or in the event of "death, resignation, removal of office, or permanent disability."
- Certifies witnessing officers on documents transmitted to foreign countries (apostilles).
- Keeps the Great Seal of the State of Arizona and affixes it to all official documents.
- Files "official administrative rules of state agencies and maintains the rules of state agencies adopted under the Arizona Administrative Procedure Act."
- Publishes the Arizona Administrative Code and the Arizona Administrative Register
- Registers limited partnerships, foreign partnerships and limited liability partnerships.
- Serves as chief election officer for the state of Arizona. Certifies candidates, ballot measures, election results, and registers lobbyists and campaign finance reports. The secretary also trains election officials and tests voting devices used by individual counties.
- Registers trade names and trademarks, telemarketers, and charitable organizations.
- Commissions notaries public.
- Files oaths of office for judges and supreme court justices and loyalty oaths for gubernatorial appointees.
- Administers the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
The Secretary of State is divided into seven divisions. These are:
- Business Filings
- Advance Directives
- Rules Filings
- Legislative Filings
In 2010, the attorney general received compensation in the amount of $70,000. The exact pay rate of the secretary of state is determined by the Arizona Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers, which submits recommendations for elective state officer salaries to the governor every even-numbered year. Unless those recommendations are changed or rejected by the governor, they became effective on the first Monday of January of the following calendar year. The secretary's compensation will next be adjusted in January 2013.
1700 West Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2888
Phone: (602) 542-4285
Toll Phone: (602) 255-8683
Fax: (602) 542-1575
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