Wisconsin Secretary of State
The secretary of state's office is authorized by Chapter 14.36 of the Wisconsin state code.
|Office of secretary of state; creation. There is created an office of the secretary of state under the direction and supervision of the secretary of state.|
While the Wisconsin Constitution does not specify the qualification for the Office of Secretary of State, the secretary is second in line of succession to the governorship. The governor must be a United States citizen and qualified elector in Wisconsin. (Wisconsin Constitution, Article V § 2)
According to Article 6 of the state constitution, the secretary of state is elected every four years, in mid-term election years, to a four-year term. In Wisconsin, the secretary of state is elected in 2010, 2014, and 2018.
Chapter 17.19(4) of the Wisconsin state code addresses vacancies in the office of secretary of state. In the event of a vacancy for any reason, the governor shall appoint a successor to serve until a special election can be held. If no such election is held, the appointee holds office for the remainder of the unexpired term. 
The secretary of state is required to keep a record of all the official acts of the legislative and executive branches of Wisconsin's government. The secretary is also the keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin and affixes it to the official acts of the governor. Additionally, the secretary of state publishes the state laws, files oaths of office, registers trademarks, files deeds for state lands, preserves the original copies of laws, files incorporation papers and other documents for cities and villages, and issues notary authentications.
The secretary of state is the second in the order of succession of the governor of Wisconsin; under the current terms of the state constitution, if the governor dies, resigns or is removed from office and the office of the lieutenant governor is vacant, the secretary of state becomes governor, whereas in the vacancy of the lieutenant governorship and the absence from the state, impeachment or inability to serve due to illness, the secretary of state merely becomes acting governor. These terms came into effect with an amendment to the constitution in 1979; originally, in all of these events, the secretary of state simply became acting governor.
Divisions of the office
Phone: (608) 266-8888 (ext 2)
Fax: (608) 266-3159
- Douglas La Follette, Wisconsin Secretary of State
- Governor of Wisconsin
- Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
- Attorney General of Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Constitution