Wisconsin Secretary of State

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Wisconsin Secretary of State
General information
Office Type:  Partisan
Office website:  Official Link
2013 FY Budget:  $513,600
Term limits:  None
Length of term:   4 years
Authority:  Wisconsin State Code, Chapter 14.36
Selection Method:  Elected
Current Officeholder

Doug LaFollette.jpg
Name:  Douglas La Follette
Officeholder Party:  Democratic
Assumed office:  1983
Compensation:  $68,556
Next election:  November 4, 2014
Last election:  November 2, 2010
Other Wisconsin Executive Offices
GovernorLieutenant GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurerAuditorSuperintendent of EducationAgriculture CommissionerInsurance CommissionerNatural Resources CommissionerLabor CommissionerPublic Service Commission
The Wisconsin Secretary of State is an elected executive official in the Wisconsin state government. The secretary keeps a record of all official acts of the legislature and executive department of the state.

Current officeholder

The current secretary of state is Douglas La Follette.


The secretary of state's office is authorized by Chapter 14.36 of the Wisconsin state code.[1]

Chapter 14.36:

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. Under Article 5 of the state constitution, the governor must be a United States citizen and qualified elector in Wisconsin.


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. [2]


Article 6 of the state constitution requires the secretary of state to keep a fair record of the official acts of the legislature and executive department of the state.

The specific duties of the attorney general are outlined in Chapter 14.38 of the Wisconsin state code.

Chapter 14.38 - Duties. The secretary of state shall:

  1. Record executive acts.
  2. Affix great seal; register commissions.
  3. Have custody of books, records, etc.
  4. Biennial report.
  5. Keep enrolled laws, etc.
  6. Compile original laws and resolutions.
  7. Record fees.
  8. Furnish certified copies; fees.
  9. Notices of proposed constitutional amendments and enactments.[3]


Wisconsin state government organizational chart

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.

Full History


There are two divisions within the office of the secretary:

  • Government Records Division
  • Administrative Services Division

State budget

The budget for the Secretary of State's Office in Fiscal Year 2013 was $513,600.[4]


See also: Compensation of state executive officers


In 2013, the secretary's salary remained at $68,556.[5]


In 2012, the Wisconsin Secretary of State was paid an estimated $68,556. This figure comes from the Council of State Governments.

Historical officeholders

There have been 31 Wisconsin Secretaries of State since 1848. Of the 31 officeholders, 20 were Republican, 10 were Democrat and 1 was Progressive.[6]

List of Former Officeholders from 1848-Present
# Name Tenure Party
1 Thomas McHugh 1848-1850 Electiondot.png Democratic
2 William A. Barstow 1850-1852 Electiondot.png Democratic
3 Charles D. Robinson 1852-1854 Electiondot.png Democratic
4 Alexander T. Gray 1854-1856 Electiondot.png Democratic
5 David W. Jones 1856-1860 Electiondot.png Democratic
6 Lewis P. Harvey 1860-1862 Ends.png Republican
7 James T. Lewis 1862-1864 Ends.png Republican
8 Lucius Fairchild 1864-1866 Ends.png Republican
9 Thomas S. Allen 1866-1870 Ends.png Republican
10 Llywelyn Breese 1870-1874 Ends.png Republican
11 Peter Doyle 1874-1878 Electiondot.png Democratic
12 Hans B. Warner 1878-1882 Ends.png Republican
13 Ernst G. Timme 1882-1891 Ends.png Republican
14 Thomas J. Cunningham 1891-1895 Electiondot.png Democratic
15 Henry Casson 1895-1899 Ends.png Republican
16 William H. Froehlich 1899-1903 Ends.png Republican
17 Walter L. Houser 1903-1907 Ends.png Republican
18 James A. Frear 1907-1913 Ends.png Republican
19 John S. Donald 1913-1917 Ends.png Republican
20 Merlin Hull 1917-1921 Ends.png Republican
21 Elmer S. Hall 1921-1923 Ends.png Republican
22 Fred R. Zimmerman 1923-1927 Ends.png Republican
23 Theodore Dammann 1927-1935 Ends.png Republican
24 Theodore Dammann 1935-1939 Progressive
25 Fred R. Zimmerman 1939-1954 Ends.png Republican
26 Louis Allis 1954-1955 Ends.png Republican
27 Mrs. Glenn M. Wise 1955-1957 Ends.png Republican
28 Robert C. Zimmerman 1957-1975 Ends.png Republican
29 Douglas J. La Follette 1975-1979 Electiondot.png Democratic
30 Mrs. Vel R. Phillips 1979-1983 Electiondot.png Democratic
31 Douglas La Follette 1983-present Electiondot.png Democratic

Recent news

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Wisconsin Secretary of State News Feed

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Contact information


Wisconsin Secretary of State
30 W. Mifflin, 10th Floor
Madison, WI 53703

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 7848
Madison, WI 53707-7848

Phone: (608) 266-8888 (ext 2)
Fax: (608) 266-3159
E-mail: statesec@sos.state.wi.us

See also

External links

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