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Michigan Secretary of State

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Michigan Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $219,548,900
Term limits:  2 terms
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Michigan Constitution, Article V, Section 3
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Ruth Johnson.png
Name:  Ruth Johnson
Officeholder Party:  Republican
Assumed office:  2010
Compensation:  $124,900
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Michigan Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of Public InstructionDirector of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources DirectorLabor DirectorPublic Service Commission
The Secretary of State for Michigan oversees elections in Michigan and is responsible for handling all administrative aspects of the ballot initiative process in the state.

The Michigan secretary of state is third in the governor of Michigan line of succession and acts in that capacity if both the office of governor and lieutenant governor of Michigan are vacant or if both are temporarily out of the state.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Ruth Johnson (R). She was elected in 2010, with her term expiring in 2014.


The state Constitution addresses the office of the Secretary of State in Article V, the Executive Department.

Under Article V, Section 3:

The single executives heading principal departments shall include a secretary of state, a state treasurer and an attorney general...


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

  • To be eligible for the office of Secretary of State or Attorney General a person:
  • Must be a registered and qualified elector of the State of Michigan on the date he or she is nominated for the office
  • Must not be convicted of a violation of section 12a(1) of 1941 PA 370, MCL 38.412a or may not be eligible for a period of 20 years after conviction [1]


Michigan state government organizational chart
See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

The Secretary of State for Michigan is an elected position. Elections are held every four years. Term limits are detailed in Article V, Section 30 of the Michigan Constitution. The Secretary is limited to two terms in office. This amendment was made in 1992 and took effect in 1993.


See also: Michigan Secretary of State election, 2010
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [2]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Ruth Johnson 50.7%
     Democratic Party Jocelyn Benson 45.2%
     Libertarian Party Scotty Boman 1.8%
     U.S. Taxpayers Robert Gale 1.3%
     Green Party John A. La Pietra 1.0%
Total Votes 3,173,248


  • 2006 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Terri Lynn Land ran unopposed in this contest
2006 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [3]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Terri Lynn Land 56.2%
     Democratic Party Carmella Sabaugh 42.0%
     Green Party Lynn Meadows 1.8%
Total Votes 3,721,910


  • 2002 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary
    • Terri Lynn Land ran unopposed in this contest
2002 Race for Secretary of State - General Election [4]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party Approveda Terri Lynn Land 55.0%
     Democratic Party Melvin Hollowell 43.0%
     Green Party Ray Ziarno 1.2%
     U.S. Taxpayers Charles Conces 0.8%
Total Votes 3,099,208


Vacancy appointments are addressed under Article V, Section 21.

Whenever the secretary of state's office is vacant the governor fills the position by appointment.


In Michigan, the secretary of state is not only responsible for elections like most other states' secretaries of state, but also oversees vehicle registration and the licensing of automobile drivers, similar to a Department of Motor Vehicles in other states. The Michigan secretary of state also oversees and regulates notaries public. Because of its drivers licensing and vehicle registration functions, the Michigan secretary of state has dozens of offices statewide and interacts with state residents more than any other organ of state government.

Campaign finance discipline

The Secretary of State Michigan is responsible for prosecuting all civil violations under the state's campaign finance laws. The first step in filing a complaint is to file with the Secretary of State as the Secretary of State is responsible for investigating all campaign finance law violations. It is up to the Secretary of State's Office to resolve all complaints first without any legal action. [5] If there is no resolution, the Secretary of State can render civil judgment against a campaign through an administrative hearing. [6]

All criminal law violations are prosecuted by the Attorney General of Michigan. [7]


Note: Ballotpedia's state executive officials project researches state official websites for information that describes the divisions (if any exist) of a state executive office. That information for the Michigan Secretary of State has not yet been added. After extensive research we were unable to identify any relevant information on state official websites. If you have any additional information about this office for inclusion on this section and/or page, please email us.

State budget

The Department of State's budget for the 2013 fiscal year was $219,548,900.[8]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

In 2012, the Michigan Secretary of State was paid an estimated $124,900 according to the Council of State Governments.

Article V, Section 23 of the Michigan Constitution defines the method by which the secretary of state's compensation is set:

The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state and attorney general shall each receive the compensation provided by law in full payment for all services performed and expenses incurred during his term of office. Such compensation shall not be changed during the term of office except as otherwise provided in this constitution.

Historical officeholders

There have been 42 Michigan Secretaries of State since 1835.[9]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term Michigan + "Secretary of State"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

"Secretary+of+State"&um=1&ie=UTF-8&output=rss Michigan Secretary of State News Feed

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Contact Information


Capitol Address:
Michigan Department of State
7064 Crowner Drive
Lansing, MI 48918

Toll Free Phone: 1-888-767-6424

See also

External links

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