Illinois Secretary of State

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Illinois Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2012 FY Budget:  $398,519,800
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Illinois Constitution, Article V, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Jesse White.jpg
Name:  Jesse White
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  1999
Compensation:  $156,541
Next election:  November 6, 2018
Last election:  November 4, 2014
Other Illinois Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorComptrollerSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture DirectorInsurance DirectorNatural Resources DirectorLabor DirectorIllinois Commerce Commission
The Secretary of State for Illinois is the keeper of the official records, laws and Great Seal of the U.S. state of Illinois. These duties have remained unchanged since Illinois became a state in 1818.

By statute, the Illinois Secretary of State is tasked with the duty of issuing licenses to Illinois-registered motor vehicles and their drivers. Enforcement of these duties has made the secretary of state's office a key bureau in the enforcement of driving-under-the-influence or DUI laws. In addition, the secretary of state is the Illinois state librarian and is the custodian of the Illinois state capitol.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Democrat Jesse White. He was first elected to the statewide position in 1998 and was subsequently re-elected in 2002, 2006, 2010 and most recently in 2014. White is the first African-American to hold this office.[1]


The secretary of state's office is authorized by Article V, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution.

Constitution of Illinois, Article V, Section 1

Officers: The Executive Branch shall include a Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer elected by the electors of the State. They shall keep the public records and maintain a residence at the seat of government during their terms of office.


Here is a list of the standard qualifications necessary under Illinois State Law in order to be considered for the Office of Secretary of State:

  • a United States citizen, at least twenty-five (25) years old
  • a resident of this State for the three years preceding his election


Illinois state government organizational chart

According to Article V, Section 2 of the state Constitution, the secretary of state shall hold office for four years beginning on the second Monday of January after their election and until their successors are qualified. They shall be elected at the general election in 1978 and every four years thereafter.


See also: Illinois secretary of state election, 2014
Secretary of State of Illinois, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJesse White Incumbent 65.7% 2,374,849
     Republican Mike Webster 31.4% 1,134,452
     Libertarian Chris Michel 2.9% 104,498
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0% 809
Total Votes 3,614,608
Election Results via Illinois State Board of Elections.


Article V, Section 7 of the Illinois Constitution addresses vacancies in the office of the secretary of state.

Constitution of Illinois, Article V, Section 7

If the Secretary of State...fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law and shall not be subject to removal by the Governor.


The specific duties of the secretary of state are outlined in Article V, Section 16 of the Illinois Constitution.

Constitution of Illinois, Article V, Section 16

Secretary of State - Duties:

The secretary of state shall:

  • Maintain the official records of the acts of the General Assembly and such official records of the Executive Branch as provided by law. Such official records shall be available for inspection by the public.
  • Keep the Great Seal of the State of Illinois
  • Perform other duties that may be prescribed by law


The duties of the Secretary of State’s office are divided among 20 departments employing approximately 4,000 people.[2]

Term of office

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

The office of Secretary of State is an elected office within the executive branch of the state government. The election is held every four years in November, and the secretary assumes office the following January. There are no term limits.[3]


The Office of the Secretary of State occupies three buildings of the Illinois Capitol Complex in Springfield, Illinois. Many of the secretary of state's workers assigned to motor vehicle and licensing duties work in the Howlett Building, south of the Capitol. The Illinois State Library is located in the Brooks Library, east of the Capitol, and the State Archives are housed in the Norton Building, southwest of the Capitol.

In addition, the Office of the Secretary of State operates 136 Driver Services license-issuing facilities statewide.

State budget

See also: Illinois state budget and finances

The budget for the Office of the Secretary of State in Fiscal Year 2012 was $398,519,800[4]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

The salaries of elected executives in Illinois are determined by the Illinois State Legislature as mandated in the state constitution. Article V, Section 21 of the Illinois Constitution also notes that executives cannot receive additional compensation beyond their salaries nor can their salaries be changed during current terms:

Article V, Section 21 of the Illinois Constitution

Text of Section 21:


Officers of the Executive Branch shall be paid salaries established by law and shall receive no other compensation for their services. Changes in the salaries of these officers elected or appointed for stated terms shall not take effect during the stated terms.[5]


In 2014, the secretary received a salary of $156,541, according to the Council of State Governments.[6]


In 2013, the secretary received a salary of $156,541, according to the Council of State Governments.[7]


In 2012, the secretary received a salary of $156,541, according to the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the secretary received a salary of $156,600, according to the Council of State Governments.[8]

Historical officeholders

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

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Contact Info


Capitol Address:
Secretary of State Jesse White
213 State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62756

Phone: (217) 782-2201
Toll Free Phone: (800) 252-8980
Fax: (217) 785-0358

See also

External links