Secretary of State of Texas
The Secretary of State of Texas is one of six state officials designated by the Texas Constitution to form the executive department of that U.S. state. The Secretary of State is appointed by the Governor, with confirmation by the Texas Senate, and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
The Secretary serves as Chief Election Officer for Texas, assisting county election officials and ensuring the uniform application and interpretation of election laws throughout Texas. The Office of the Secretary of State also provides a repository for official and business and commercial records required to be filed with the Office. The Secretary publishes government rules and regulations and commissions notaries public. The Secretary also serves as keeper of the state seal and attests to the Governor's signature on official documents.
The first Secretary of the Republic of Texas was Stephen F. Austin. Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced her resignation Nov. 20, 2012, to be effective Nov. 23. Governor Rick Perry appointed John Steen as Secretary of State effective November 27, 2012.
The main Secretary of State offices are located at the James Earl Rudder State Office Building at 1019 Brazos Street in Austin; the main building handles business and public filings, statutory documents, Texas Administrative Code open meetings, and the UCC Texas Register. The SOS elections office resides on the third floor of the Thomas Jefferson Rusk State Office Building at 208 East 10th Street. The executive offices reside in Room 1E.8 in the Texas State Capitol.
Constitutional duties of the office
The Secretary of State is named in the Texas Constitution as one of the six officers along with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller of Public Accounts, Commissioner of the General Land Office, and Attorney General, who together make up the Executive Department. Of these offices all are elected by the voters in statewide elections, except the Secretary of State who is nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
The Elections Division is responsible for administering the Texas Election Code, which governs all elections in Texas, as well as, voting systems, candidates, and political parties. The Elections Division also maintains more than 11 million voter registration records on behalf of the State.
To educate future Texas voters, the Division administers Project V.O.T.E. (Voters of Tomorrow through Education). Project V.O.T.E. is a curriculum taught to students K - 12 throughout Texas to educate young Texans about the electoral process and to encourage them to vote in the future.
Business and Public Filings Division
The Business and Public Filings Division consists of four different sections. These sections maintain filings and records related to Texas corporations, financial and banking transactions, executive branch commissions, Legislative mandates, and other public organizations.
The "Texas Register," a weekly administrative law journal that publishes a number of official state rules, meetings, opinions and proclamations, is published by this division.
Recently, Governor Perry has charged the Secretary of State's Office with two additional responsibilities not contained in the Texas Constitution. By Executive Order, the Secretary of State serves as the Governor's lead liaison for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs. In this capacity, the Secretary manages an array of issues that involve the Texas-Mexico border, and Texas' relations with Mexico.
The Governor has also issued an Executive Order which directs the Secretary to serve as the State's Chief International Protocol Officer. In this role, the Secretary receives international dignitaries and delegations on behalf of the Governor and the State of Texas and represents the Governor and the State of Texas at meetings and events with members of the international diplomatic corps.
History of the office
Since then, Texas became a state of the United States in 1845 and there have been 106 Secretaries of State.
State seal of Texas
There shall be a Seal of the State which shall be kept by the secretary of state, and used by him officially under the direction of the governor. The Seal of the State shall be a star of five points, encircled by olive and live oak branches, and the words, "The State of Texas." Texas Constitution, article IV, section 19.
The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Seal of the State of Texas. The state seal is required by law to be affixed to numerous documents, such as commissions for elected and appointed state and local officials; patents for land from the state; executive acts of the governor in criminal cases such as remissions of fines, reprieves, commutations of punishment, extraditions, and pardons; state bonds; and all official documents issued from the office of the secretary of state. By law the state seal also appears on gold and silver state coins; the Texas Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded to citizens who have achieved conspicuous success while rendering outstanding service to the state; and all state aircraft except those used for law-enforcement purposes.
The secretary of state's office currently has six mechanical presses and dies used to affix the state seal as required by law.
Private use of the state seal, including the state arms and reverse of the state seal, is regulated by law. The state seal may be used for commercial purposes only if a license is obtained from the secretary of state and royalties are paid to the state. Additionally, it is a criminal offense for a person other than a political officeholder knowingly to use a representation of the state seal in political advertising.
- Weekly NRHP listings 1/16/1998
- "About the Office." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- John Steen named Texas Secretary of State
- "SOS Map and Driving Directions to the Texas Secretary of State Office." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- "Thomas Jefferson Rusk Building." State Office of Risk Management. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- "Transmitting Documents to the Secretary of State." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed October 24, 2008.
- "Constitutional Duties." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- "History of the Office." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- "State Seal of Texas." Secretary of State of Texas. Accessed August 31, 2008.