Politics for Beginners: Secretary of State

While profiling the candidates for all of Georgia’s 2018 elections, I’ve been embarrassed to discover that I have forgotten most of what I learned from my civics classes about the roles of different branches of government. If this sounds like you, allow me to give you a politics refresher course.

Third lesson, what is the secretary of state?

To put it simply, at the state level, a secretary of state is the state’s office manager, symbol keeper, and for lack of a better word, secretary.

According to georgiaencyclopedia.org, on top of being charged with caring for the state’s flag, Great Seal, and other symbols, the secretary of state is the chair of the Claims Advisory Board, which receives, investigates, and hears civil claims across the state.

In addition, a secretary of state also has to monitor elections, provide campaign finance disclosure, manage and preserve public records, provide educational programs about the capital, and license, monitor, and register professionals and businesses.

Their office includes the divisions of archives, elections, corporations, securities and business regulation, professional licensing boards, and the state capitol. Other agencies they oversee include the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust, Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, State Ethics Commission, and the Georgia Real Estate Commission and Appraisers Board.

The current secretary of state is incumbent Republican Brian Kemp, but he is stepping down to run for governor. If you would like to vote for his replacement to this job, cast your ballots on November 6.

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