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Secretary of State/Secretary of the Commonwealth

Civic Genius

What does a Secretary of State do? That’s kind of like asking what a sandwich is – is a hamburger a sandwich? A taco? There are no simple answers.

Here’s the deal: most states have a person called the Secretary of States, and in many states, this person is the chief election official. That means they have the incredibly important job of running safe, fair elections – including registering voters, enforcing campaign finance laws, and certifying election results.

But the Secretary of State isn’t always the chief election official. In some states, it’s the Lieutenant Governor; in others, there’s a board of elections where a few people have various responsibilities.

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