Minnesota Secretary Of State - What does the Secretary of State's Office do?
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What does the Secretary of State's Office do?

The work of the Secretary of State’s Office affects Minnesotans in all 87 counties of the state. One of the office's main responsibilities is overseeing statewide elections and operating the statewide voter registration system. We work hard every day to ensure Minnesota’s election system is fair, open, impartial, and secure.

Another main responsibility involves the review, approval, and filings for all businesses and organizations operating in the state. We strive to make it as easy as possible for Minnesotans to set up and run their businesses.

We also process notary public applications, preserve documents filed with the state, and administer the Safe at Home program, an address confidentiality program designed to assist Minnesotans who wish to keep the location of their physical residence private for personal safety reasons, often because they are victims of domestic violence. Read more about each division below.

The division is responsible for administration of election law and partners with county auditors, and city and township officials in the administration of elections. The division operates the Statewide Voter Registration System and prepares the official roster of voters for each election. It also:

  • Provides information on voter registration, elections, military/overseas voting, absentee ballots, polling place locations and elections results
  • Certifies voting systems
  • Conducts administrative recounts
  • Accepts filings by candidates for federal and state offices
  • Trains local election officials
  • Creates training material for election judges

Learn more about Elections & Voting and Election Administration.

The division reviews, approves and files articles of incorporation and amendments for all business and nonprofit organizations conducting business in the state. It provides many online and walk-in services for Minnesota businesses, including business name filings and searches, filing articles and renewals, and ordering copies and certificates. The division also:

  • Records assumed business names, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships
  • Provides business data to the public
  • Accepts applications for legal newspaper status

Learn more about Business Services.

The division maintains records filed under UCC regarding collateral pledged to secure loans. It administers the Central Notification System (CNS) for farm product liens, and files and maintains statewide federal tax liens.

Learn more about the UCC Division.

The unit processes notary public applications, renewals and changes, and maintains a notary database.

Learn more about Notary Services.

This program assists survivors of domestic violence and other who fear for their safety by providing a mail-forwarding service allowing them to interact with public and private entities without revealing their actual address.

Learn more about the Safe at Home Program.

The office processes applications for vacancies on various state boards, councils and committees.

Learn more about Boards & Commissions.

The Secretary of State is a constitutional office in the executive branch of state government. To qualify as secretary of state a person must be a qualified voter, at least 21 years old, and elected by the people (Article V).

The secretary of state is an independently elected public official. The office has a four-year term and is currently held by Secretary Steve Simon, who was elected in 2014. The office has a statutory salary of $95,722. There are approximately 100 staff in the office. View a list of all of Minnesota's Secretaries of State since 1858.

The secretary of state also chairs the State Canvassing Board, convenes Minnesota's electoral college, and serves on the Executive Council, Board of Investment and Minnesota Historical Society.

As keeper of the Great Seal of the State of Minnesota, the secretary certifies the authenticity of official documents,  such as acts of the Legislature, and proclamations and executive orders issued by the governor. The office is also the keeper of the original chapter laws passed each legislative session and signed by the various officers of the Legislature, such as the president of the Senate, speaker of the House, chief clerk of the House, and secretary of the Senate, as well as the secretary of state and (in most cases) the governor.

A list of all 50 Secretaries of State is available from the National Association of Secretaries of State.