Secretary of State of Indiana

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Secretary of State of Indiana
Connie Lawson.jpg
Connie Lawson (appointed)

since March 16, 2012
Term length4 years
Inaugural holderRobert A. New
November 7, 1816
FormationIndiana Constitution
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Secretary of State of Indiana
Connie Lawson.jpg
Connie Lawson (appointed)

since March 16, 2012
Term length4 years
Inaugural holderRobert A. New
November 7, 1816
FormationIndiana Constitution

The Secretary of State of the U.S. state of Indiana is one of five constitutional officers originally designated in Indiana's State Constitution of 1816. Since 1851 it has been an elected position. The Secretary of State oversees four divisions, and is considered to be the second most powerful member of the executive branch of the state government. The Secretary serves as the State's chief election officer, enforces state securities regulations, regulates automobile dealerships in Indiana, and manages the state business services division. The current office holder is Connie Lawson, who was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to serve out the term of former Secretary of State Charlie White, who was removed from office due to felony convictions. The annual salary of the Secretary of State of Indiana is $66,000.[1]

Qualifications and term limits[edit]

The Indiana Secretary of State is a constitutional office first established in the 1816 Constitution of Indiana. Between 1816 and until 1851, the Secretary of State was nominated by the governor and confirmed by the state senate. With the adoption of the current constitution in 1851 the Secretary of State's office was filled by a public statewide election every four years.[2]

To be eligible to serve as Secretary of State, a candidate must be a registered voter who is at least 30 years old on the day they take the oath of office. Secretaries of State take office on December 1 following their election and hold office for four years. Should they resign, be impeached, or die in office the governor has the power to appoint a temporary Secretary of State to serve until the next general election. The new Secretary of State, either appointed or elected, may only complete the term of the previous Secretary of State, not serve a new four-year term. A Secretary of State may be reelected any number of times, but may serve no more than eight years in any 12-year period. As of 2007, the salary for the secretary is $66,000 annually.[2]

Secretary of State elections determine party status in Indiana. A party's Secretary of State candidate must garner at least 10 percent of the vote for his or her party to be considered a major party in the state.[3]


The Indiana Secretary of State is a constitutional office in the executive branch of the Government of Indiana. The constitution delegates power to oversee state elections by registering candidates, creating ballots, and certifying winners. Additionally all campaign financing information is also reported to the secretary who ensures it is compliant with state laws. This is accomplished through the Indiana Election Commission which is headed by the secretary who must personally sign off on all decisions. In cases of contested election, the Secretary of state is also the head of the State Recount Commission which has final authority in certifying elections.[4]

The Indiana General Assembly has granted the secretary additional statutory powers to maintain the state's registry of notaries, overseeing the state's criminal records, and managing the statewide human resources and payroll for the entire state government. The secretary oversees all these tasks as the head of the Indiana Department of Administration which has a several hundred member staff which is hired through the state merit system, denying the secretary a significant number of patronage position under his control.[2]

The Indiana Securities Division is placed under the leadership of the secretary. The division is statutory and is responsible for enforcing regulations on the purchase, sale, and trade of all security investments in the state. The division is responsible for granting operating licenses to collection agencies who wish to collect debts within the state. The division investigates violations of the state securities laws, can levy fines on law violators, and can request the Indiana Attorney General peruse criminal charges. As of 2007, the division regulated over 1,000 trading firms and their nearly 40,000 agents.[4]

The secretary also heads the statutory Division of Business Services. The division is responsible for maintaining the records of all corporations operating within Indiana, which in 2007 amounted to over 250,000 active and inactive corporations. Non-profit businesses, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships also are required to register with the division. The division also approves trademarks and service marks for state companies. The division also maintains Indiana's Uniform Commercial Code which documents the assets and finances of businesses that fall under jurisdiction of the code. In 2007, approximately one million records were kept in accordance with the code.[5]


The Office of Secretary of State is one of five constitutional officers originally designated in Indiana's State Constitution of 1816. Sixty-one Hoosiers have served as the third highest-ranking official in state government.

Early duties of the office included the maintenance of state records and preservation of the state seal. But as state government expanded, so did the responsibilities of the Secretary of State. Present responsibilities include chartering of new business, regulation of the securities industry, administering regulations relating to the registration of motorized vehicle dealers, and oversight of state elections.

Organization of Office[edit]

The Executive Office, located in the Indiana Statehouse, oversees the overall policy, management, and budgeting for the entire office. Four main divisions comprise the balance of the office: Elections, Business Services, Securities and Dealer Services.

Elections - The Elections Division assists the Secretary of State in carrying out the responsibilities assigned as Indiana's chief elections officer. The bipartisan division is composed of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. The division's administrative responsibilities include overseeing the candidate declaration process, certifying election results, and maintaining campaign finance reports. The Secretary of State also serves as chairperson for the Indiana Recount Commission and participates in voter outreach projects aimed at increasing voter participation. The Indiana Election Commission, as opposed to the Division, is an independently appointed Commission of two Republicans and two Democrats. The commission deals with questions associated with violations of the Indiana election laws, and with the imposition of penalties.

Business Services - The Business Services Division administers all business-related responsibilities for the Secretary of State including the chartering of new businesses, the filing of commercial liens, and the issuance of trademarks, notaries public and summonses.

Securities - The Securities Division oversees Indiana's securities industry. The division is charged with protecting Hoosier investors by bringing enforcement actions against companies and individuals selling securities in violation of Indiana's securities laws and by educating Hoosiers about prudent investing. Over the past four years, the division has imposed a record amount in fines and penalties against scam artists preying upon unsuspecting Hoosier investors.

Dealer Services - Dealer Services administers regulations relating to the registration of motorized vehicle dealers, including dealers for automobiles, watercraft, off-road vehicles and automobile salvage.

List of Secretaries of State[edit]

      Democratic-Republican       Democratic       Whig       Republican

Territorial Secretaries[edit]

#NameTook officeLeft officePartyHometownNotes
1John GibsonJuly 4, 1800November 7, 1816Democratic-RepublicanKnox County, Indiana[6]

Secretaries of State[edit]

#NameTook officeLeft officePartyHometownNotes
1Robert A. NewNovember 7, 1816December 6, 1825Democratic-RepublicanClark County, Indiana
2William WickJanuary 14, 1825January 14, 1829DemocratConnersville, Indiana
3James MorrisonJanuary 14, 1829January 14, 1833RepublicanCharlestown, Indiana
4William SheetsJanuary 14, 1833January 14, 1837WhigMadison, Indiana
5William J. BrownJanuary 14, 1837January 14, 1841DemocratRushville, Indiana
6William SheetsJanuary 14, 1841January 14, 1845WhigMadison, Indiana
7John H. ThompsonJanuary 14, 1845January 14, 1849WhigClark County, Indiana
8Charles H. TestJanuary 14, 1849January 14, 1851RepublicanWayne County, Indiana
9Nehemiah HaydenJanuary 14, 1853January 14, 1855DemocratRush County, Indiana
10Erasmus B. CollinsJanuary 14, 1855January 14, 1857RepublicanDearborn County, Indiana
11Daniel McClureJanuary 16, 1857October 28, 1858DemocratMarion County, Indiana[7]
12Cyrus L. DunhamOctober 28, 1858January 15, 1861DemocratNew Albany, Indiana
13William A. PeeleJanuary 15, 1861January 15, 1863RepublicanWinchester, Indiana
14James S. AthonJanuary 16, 1863January 16, 1865DemocratMarion County, Indiana
15Nelson TruslerJanuary 16, 1865January 16, 1869RepublicanConnersville, Indiana
16Max F. A. HoffmanJanuary 16, 1869January 16, 1871RepublicanValparaiso, Indiana
17Norman EddyJanuary 16, 1871February 1, 1872DemocratSouth Bend, Indiana[8]
18John H. FarquharFebruary 1, 1872January 16, 1873RepublicanRichmond, Indiana
19William W. CurryJanuary 16, 1873January 16, 1875RepublicanTerre Haute, Indiana
20John E. NeffJanuary 16, 1875January 16, 1879DemocratWinchester, Indiana
21John G. ShanklinJanuary 16, 1879January 16, 1881DemocratEvansville, Indiana
22Emanuel R. HawnJanuary 16, 1881January 16, 1883RepublicanLeavenworth, Indiana
23William R. MyersJanuary 16, 1883January 16, 1887DemocratAnderson, Indiana
24Charles F. GriffinJanuary 16, 1887January 16, 1891RepublicanHammond, Indiana
25Claude MatthewsJanuary 16, 1891January 9, 1893DemocratVermillion County, Indiana[7][9]
26Myron D. KingJanuary 9, 1893January 17, 1893DemocratCovington, Indiana
27William R. MyersJanuary 17, 1893January 17, 1895DemocratAnderson, Indiana
28William D. OwenJanuary 17, 1895January 17, 1899RepublicanBedford, Indiana
29Union B. HuntJanuary 17, 1899January 17, 1903RepublicanRandolph County, Indiana
30Daniel E. StormsJanuary 17, 1903April 1, 1906RepublicanStockwell, Indiana[7]
31Fred A. SimsApril 1, 1906November 27, 1910RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana
32L. G. EllinghamNovember 27, 1910November 27, 1914DemocratDecatur, Indiana
33Homer L. CookNovember 27, 1914November 27, 1916DemocratIndianapolis, Indiana
34Edward L. JacksonNovember 27, 1916November 21, 1917RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana[7][9]
35William A. RoachNovember 22, 1917January 17, 1920RepublicanDelphi, Indiana[8][10]
36Edward L. JacksonJanuary 22, 1920November 27, 1924RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana[9]
37Fred SchortemeierDecember 1, 1924December 1, 1928RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana
38Otto G. FifieldDecember 1, 1928December 1, 1930RepublicanCrown Point, Indiana
39Frank Mayr Jr.December 1, 1930December 1, 1934DemocratSouth Bend, Indiana
40August G. MuellerDecember 1, 1934December 1, 1938DemocratIndianapolis, Indiana
41James M. TuckerDecember 1, 1938July 25, 1942RepublicanPaoli, Indiana[7]
42Maurice G. ThompsonJuly 25, 1942December 1, 1942RepublicanAnderson, Indiana
43Rue J. AlexanderDecember 1, 1942December 1, 1946RepublicanPine Village, Indiana
44Thomas E. Bath Jr.December 2, 1946December 1, 1948RepublicanSouth Bend, Indiana
45Charles F. FlemingDecember 1, 1948December 1, 1950DemocratHammond, Indiana
46Leland L. SmithDecember 1, 1950December 1, 1952RepublicanLogansport, Indiana
47Crawford F. ParkerDecember 1, 1952December 1, 1956RepublicanNew Castle, Indiana
48Frank A. LenningsDecember 1, 1956December 1, 1958RepublicanBloomfield, Indiana
49John R. WalshDecember 1, 1958December 1, 1960DemocratMartinsville, Indiana
50Charles O. HendricksDecember 1, 1960December 1, 1964RepublicanSpeed, Indiana
51John D. BottorffDecember 1, 1964December 1, 1966DemocratIndianapolis, Indiana
52Edgar WhitcombDecember 1, 1966December 1, 1968RepublicanSeymour, Indiana[9]
53William N. SalinDecember 1, 1968December 1, 1970RepublicanFort Wayne, Indiana
54Larry ConradDecember 1, 1970December 1, 1978DemocratMuncie, Indiana
55Edwin SimcoxDecember 1, 1978December 1, 1986RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana
56Evan BayhDecember 1, 1986January 9, 1989DemocratEvansville, Indiana[9]
57Joe HogsettJanuary 9, 1989December 1, 1994DemocratIndianapolis, Indiana
58Sue Anne GilroyDecember 1, 1994December 1, 2002RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana
59Todd RokitaDecember 1, 2002December 1, 2010RepublicanMunster, Indiana
60Charlie WhiteJanuary 6, 2011February 4, 2012RepublicanFishers, Indiana
-Jerry BonnetFebruary 4, 2012March 16, 2012RepublicanIndianapolis, Indiana[11]
61Connie LawsonMarch 16, 2012RepublicanDanville, Indiana[12]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Information Maintained by the Office of Code Revision Indiana Legislative Services Agency". State of Indiana. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  2. ^ a b c Indiana Chamber, p. 14
  3. ^ Shella, Jim. Charlie White could damage GOP more than you think. WISH-TV, 2011-03-11.
  4. ^ a b Indiana Chamber, p. 15
  5. ^ Indiana Code, p. 16
  6. ^ Served as acting-governor of Indiana Territory from December 28, 1812–March 3, 1813
  7. ^ a b c d e Resigned from office
  8. ^ a b Died in office
  9. ^ a b c d e Served as Governor of Indiana
  10. ^ Pliny H. Wolford served as acting-Secretary of State for four days between the death of William A. Roach and the appointment of Edward L. Jackson (Funk, p 208)
  11. ^ Served on an interim basis after the expulsion of White from office
  12. ^ Mary Beth Schneider (March 15, 2012). "Gov. Mitch Daniels picks Connie Lawson as new Indiana Secretary of State". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 


External links[edit]