Secretary of state is an elected statewide executive office in 35 states, a governor-appointed position in nine states, and a legislature-appointed position in three states. Alaska, Hawaii, and Utah do not have secretaries of state.
In 38 states, secretaries derive their power from original articles in their states’ constitutions. In 19 they derive their authority from various statutes and laws.
No two secretaries of state have identical responsibilities. Many are tasked with keeping state records, from registering businesses to recording the official acts of the governor. Most secretaries also serve as the chief election official in their state, administering state elections and maintaining official election results.
Of America’s 47 secretaries of state:
• 37 serve as their state’s chief elections officer with ultimate oversight over state elections and voter registration.
• 32 maintain state archives.
• 20 register lobbyists.
• 12 are responsible for enrolling bills.
• Three (in Arizona, Oregon, and Wyoming) are first in line to succeed their state’s governor.
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