Secretary of State of Florida

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Secretary of State of Florida
Seal of Florida.svg
Laurel M. Lee (cropped).jpg
Laurel M. Lee

since January 28, 2019
Inaugural holderJames T. Archer
FormationFlorida Constitution

The Secretary of State of Florida is a constitutional officer of the state government of the U.S. state of Florida, established by the original 1838 state constitution.[1]

Like the corresponding officials in other states, the original charge of the Secretary of State — to be the "Keeper of the Great Seal" — has expanded greatly since the office was first created. According to the state website, "Today, the Secretary of State is Florida's Chief of Elections, Chief Cultural Officer, the State Protocol Officer and the head of the Department of State."[1]

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The current secretary is Laurel M. Lee.[2]


During the territorial period of Florida, the Secretary of the Territory was one of two major appointed positions within the executive department of the territory. Like the governor, the secretary was originally appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by Congress. The job of the secretary was similar to that of a modern-day Lieutenant Governor, assuming administrative responsibilities of the territory in the absence of the governor. The first Secretary of the Territory George Walton for instance served as Acting Governor of the Territory until William P. Duval assumed office later that year. Walton was the first civilian to act in this capacity following the American acquisition of Florida.

The modern day Department of State and the position of Secretary of State dates to 1845, as Florida achieved statehood and the first Florida Constitution came into effect. Originally, the Secretary of State of Florida was elected by the people of the state in the general election. However, in 1998,[3] constitutional changes removed the Secretary of State from the elected Cabinet of the executive branch.[4] That year, Katherine Harris won the last election for Secretary of State.[5]

Since 2002, the Secretary of State of Florida is appointed by the Governor.[6]

Mike Ertel was appointed to serve as Florida's Secretary of State by Governor Ron DeSantis on January 8, 2019,[7] but resigned less than a month later after photos emerged of him appearing in blackface as part of a "Hurricane Katrina victim" Halloween costume in 2005.[8]

List of Secretaries of the Territory[edit]

  1. George Walton, 1822–1827
  2. William M. McCarty, 1827–1829
  3. James D. Westcott, 1829–1834
  4. George K. Walker, 1834–1835
  5. John P. Duval, 1837–1839
  6. Joseph McCants, 1840–1841
  7. Thomas H. Duval, 1842–1845

List of Secretaries of State[edit]


  1. James Tillinghast Archer, 1845–1848
  2. Augustus Emmett Maxwell, 1848–1849
  3. Charles W. Downing, Jr., 1849–1853
  4. Frederick L. Villepigue, 1853–1863
  5. Benjamin F. Allen, 1863–1868
  6. George J. Alden, 1868
  7. Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, 1868–1873
  8. Samuel B. Mclin, 1873–1877
  9. William Dunnington Bloxham, 1877–1880
  10. Frederick W. A. Rankin, Jr., 1880–1881
  11. John Lovic Crawford, 1881–1902
  12. Henry Clay Crawford, 1902–1929
  13. William Monroe Igou, 1929–1930
  14. Robert Andrew Gray, 1930–1961
  15. Thomas Burton "Tom" Adams, Jr., 1961–1971
  16. Richard Bernard Stone, 1971–1974
  17. Dorothy Glisson, 1974–1975
  18. Bruce Smathers, 1975–1978
  19. Jesse J. McCrary, Jr., 1978–1979
  20. George Firestone, 1979–1987
  21. James C. Smith, 1987–1995
  22. Sandra Mortham, 1995–1999
  23. Katherine Harris, 1999–2002
  24. James C. Smith, 2002–2003
    Ken Detzner, 2003 (acting)
  25. Glenda Hood, 2003–2005
    David E. Mann, 2005 (interim)
  26. Sue McCourt Cobb, 2005–2007
  27. Kurt S. Browning, 2007–2010
    Dawn K. Roberts, 2010–2011 (interim)
    Jennifer Kennedy, 2011 (acting)
    Kurt S. Browning, 2011–2012
  28. Ken Detzner, 2012–2019
  29. Mike Ertel, 2019
    Jennifer Kennedy, 2019 (interim)
  30. Laurel M. Lee, 2019–present

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Florida Department of State website". 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2008.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "State and Local Government-Florida Executive Branch". The Green Papers. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  4. ^ "Florida Legislature website: Florida Constitution". Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  5. ^ "Florida Secretary of State". Our Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  6. ^ "Glenda Hood Steps Down as Secretary of State". Office of Secretary of State. November 1, 2005. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  7. ^ Lemongello, Steven (December 28, 2019). "Seminole elections supervisor Mike Ertel named Florida's next secretary of state". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  8. ^ Schweers, Jeffrey (January 24, 2019). "Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigns after Halloween blackface photos emerge". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  9. ^ "Florida Department of State » Office of the Secretary » Office History". Retrieved April 6, 2012.

External links[edit]