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West Virginia Secretary of State

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West Virginia Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $1,307,638
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  West Virginia Constitution, Article VII, Section 1
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Natalie Tennant.jpg
Name:  Natalie Tennant
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  January 19, 2009
Compensation:  $95,000
Next election:  November 8, 2016
Last election:  November 6, 2012
Other West Virginia Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerSecretary of CommerceCommissioner of LaborPublic Service Commission
The West Virginia Secretary of State is an elected office within the West Virginia state government. The secretary of state is responsible for overseeing the state's election process, including voter registration and election results reporting.

West Virginia is one of only three states that does not have a Lieutenant Governor. The Secretary of State assumes many of the roles traditionally reserved for the lieutenant governor, and is second-in-command in the event the governor is unable to carry out the duties of office.

Current officeholder

The current officeholder is Natalie Tennant.


The office of secretary of state is established by Article VII of the West Virginia Constitution.

Article VII, Section 1:

The executive department shall consist of a governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general...


Article IV, Section 4 of the West Virginia Constitution establishes the qualifications of office as such:

No person, except citizens entitled to vote, shall be elected or appointed to any state, county or municipal office; but the governor and judges must have attained the age of thirty, and the attorney general and senators the age of twenty-five years, at the beginning of their respective terms of service; and must have been citizens of the state for five years next preceding their election or appointment, or be citizens at the time this constitution goes into operation.

  • a citizen entitled to vote
  • a resident of West Virginia for at least the preceding 5 years


The Office of Secretary of State is a publicly elected statewide position with elections held every four years. Elections are held in November and officers assume their duties the following January. There are no term limits for the office.


See also: West Virginia secretary of state election, 2012

Incumbent Natalie Tennant (D) defeated Brian Savilla (R) in the November 6, 2012 general election.

West Virginia Secretary of State General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngNatalie Tennant Incumbent 62.4% 339,235
     Republican Brian Savilla 37.6% 204,440
Total Votes 543,675
Election Results West Virginia Secretary of State Election Results Center.


Details of vacancy appointments are addressed under Article VII, Section 17 of the state constitution.

If the office of secretary of state becomes vacant, it is the duty of the governor to fill the position by appointment. The appointee serves until a new commissioner is elected.


The West Virginia Secretary of State is the smallest constitutional office in the state - physically, fiscally, and in terms of the number of staff.[1] The duties of the office, though, are extensive. The primary responsibility of the secretary is to serve as the chief election officer. The "work horse" of the office is the business and licensing division, which registers, licenses, and keeps a database of all businesses, corporations, charities, notary publics, private investigators, and sports agents operating within West Virginia. The secretary also files public notices of all state agency meetings, sends official documents on behalf of the governor, and certifies gubernatorial proclamations by affixing the state seal and their signature to official documents.[1]


The office of the secretary of state is comprised of the following offices:

  • The Administrative Law Division is the official archive and clearinghouse for agency rules, notices, orders, decisions and other procedural documents. This division publishes the state's gazette, the West Virginia Register.
  • The Business Organizations Division charters and maintains records for business entities and registers trademarks and service marks. This division also licenses lending institutions and purchasers of future payments.
  • The Charities Division registers and regulates charitable organizations and professional fundraisers operating within the state.
  • The Elections Division administers elections, implements state and federal election laws, and regulates campaign finance.
  • The Executive Records Division maintains the records of official acts of the Governor, enrolled bills, surety bonds, oaths of office of state officials, as well as the records of some state agencies.
  • The Notary Public Section licenses and monitors notaries public.
  • The UCC Section files liens pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code.

State budget

The budget for the Secretary of State's Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $1,307,638.[2]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers

Article 7, Section 19 of the state constitution defines the method by which the secretary of state's compensation is set:

The officers named in this article shall receive for their services a salary to be established by law, which shall not be increased or diminished during their official terms, and they shall not, after they shall not, after the expirations of the terms of those in office at the adoption of this amendment, receive to their own use any fees, costs, perquisites of office or other compensation, and all fees that may hereafter be payable by law, for any service performed by any officer provided for in this article of the Constitution, shall be paid in advance into the state treasury.

Chapter 6, Article 7-2 of the West Virginia Code lays out the exact compensation for certain state officers. According to this section of the state code, the salary of the secretary of state, beginning in 2009 and for each calendar year thereafter, shall be $95,000.[3]


In 2012, the West Virginia Secretary of State was paid an estimated $95,000. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.


In 2010, the West Virginia Secretary of State was paid an estimated $95,000 according to the Council of State Governments.[4]

Historical officeholders

Summary of past officeholders. Since 1863, West Virginia has had 29 secretaries of state.[5]

Click "show" for former officeholders.

Contact information

West Virginia

Capitol Address:
Secretary of State
Building 1, Suite 157-K
1900 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25305-0770

Phone: (304) 558-6000
Toll Free Phone: (866) 767-8683
Fax: (304) 558-0900
E-mail: wvsos@wvsos.com

Online contact forms for all divisions

See also

External links

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