Secretary of State

Secretary of State

Secretary of StateAgency History

The Texas Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor’s (a two-year term at first, a four-year term since 1974). The office was first created by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836, and has been continued by each succeeding Constitution.

The Texas Constitution of 1845 required the Secretary of State to “keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor” and to provide these to the legislature when required. This duty (and others) were reiterated in the act “to define the duties of Secretary of State,” approved May 9, 1846. This authority was reconfirmed by the Constitutions of 1866 (Article V, Section 17), 1869 (Article IV, Section 17) and 1876 (Article IV, Section 21), and subsequent amendments.

The Secretary of State has an enormous number of duties and responsibilities, including the following: authenticating the publication of all laws passed by the state legislature; approving comptroller’s accounts against the state prior to payment; maintaining a register of all official acts and proceedings of the governor, and all appointments to state boards and commissions; interpreting and enforcing the Texas Election Code, as the state’s chief election officer; keeping the Seal of the State of Texas; and maintaining many business-related filings, including corporation and Uniform Commercial Code filings.

(Click here to read the full general agency history)


The office of the Secretary of State is divided into five divisions (as of November 2013): Administrative Services, Business and Public Filings, Elections, Information Services, and Protocol/Border. Only those divisions represented in the Texas Digital Archive are listed below.