The office of secretary of state was established by Article IV, Sections 1 and 21, of the Constitution of 1876. It began as a state office established by the Constitution of 1845, superseding a similar office in the Republic of Texas. The secretary of state is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate and serves for four years. The major duties of the office are to attest the governor's signature and affix the state seal to proclamations, commissions to office, and other official documents; keep a file of the official acts of the governor and the legislature, compile and publish the laws, keep a roster of all elective and appointive officers in the state; administer the primary and election laws as chief election officer; issue charters of incorporation; assess and collect the franchise tax on corporations; administer the laws concerning the sale of securities, and appoint the notaries public. The responsibilities of the secretary of state are carried out under four divisions: Elections, Statutory Filings, Support Services, and Data Services. The Elections Division oversees matters involving election laws, voter registration, and functions as the authority with whom petitions are filed. A Disclosure Filings Section files financial disclosure statements, reports of lobbyists, and campaign contribution reports among other election-related documents for public access. The Statutory Filings Division is responsible for issuing charters to corporations, appointing notaries public, filing federal liens, and publishing government rules and reports in the Texas Register and the Texas Administrative Code. These responsibilities are assumed within four sections of the division: Corporations, Publications, Statutory Documents, and Uniform Commercial Code. The Support Services Division provides all financial control for the other divisions in the office of the secretary of state, while the Data Services Division provides administrative and computational. In 1991 the office of the secretary of state had an operating budget of over $7 million. It employed more than 200 people.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Dick Smith and Laurie E. Jasinski,
“Secretary of State,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 1, 1995