Secretary of State of California

The Secretary of State of California is the chief clerk of the U.S. state of California, overseeing a department of 500 people. The Secretary of State is elected for four year terms, like the state's other constitutional officers; the officeholder is restricted by term limits to two terms. The current Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, took office on January 5, 2015.

Secretary of State of California
Alex Padilla

since January 5, 2015
StyleThe Honorable
Mr. Secretary
Term lengthFour years, two term limit
Inaugural holderWilliam Van Voorhies
FormationConstitution of California



The Secretary of State is California's Chief Elections Officer, overseeing all federal and state elections in the state and maintaining a database of registered voters.[1] The officeholder is also responsible for disclosure of campaign and lobbyist financial information, under the California Political Reform Act of 1974.


The Office of the Secretary of State has a number of responsibilities related to corporations; the largest portion office is the Business Programs Division, which handles corporate filings. The Business Entities Section processes, files and maintains records related to corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships and other business entities conducting or planning to conduct business in California.


The office also maintains a number of registries, including the Safe at Home confidential address program and the Domestic Partners and Advance Health Care Directive.[2] Other roles of the Secretary of State include safeguarding the California State Archives and sitting on the board of trustees of The California Museum, though the officeholder has not been responsible for the California State Library since 1862.[3][4]

List of Secretaries of State of California

# Name Term of office Party
1 William Van Voorhies 1849–1853 Democratic
2 James W. Denver 1853–1855 Democratic
3 Charles H. Hempstead 1855–1856 Democratic
4 David F. Douglass 1856–1858 American
5 Ferris Foreman 1858–1860 Democratic
6 Johnson Price 1860–1862 Democratic
7 William H. Weeks 1862–1863 Republican
8 A. A. H. Tuttle 1863 Republican
9 Benjamin B. Redding 1863–1867 Unionist Republican
10 Henry L. Nichols 1867–1871 Democratic
11 Drury Melone 1871–1875 Republican
12 Thomas Beck 1875–1880 Democratic
13 Daniel M. Burns 1880–1883 Republican
14 Thomas Larkin Thompson 1883–1887 Democratic
15 William C. Hendricks 1887–1891 Democratic
16 Edwin G. Waite 1891–1894 Republican
17 Albert Hart 1894–1895 Republican
18 Lewis H. Brown 1895–1899 Republican
19 Charles F. Curry 1899–1911 Republican
20 Frank C. Jordan 1911–1940 Republican
21 Paul Peek 1940–1943 Democratic
22 Frank M. Jordan 1943–1970 Republican
Acting H. P. Sullivan 1970–1971 Republican
23 Jerry Brown 1971–1975 Democratic
24 March Fong Eu 1975–1994 Democratic
Acting Tony Miller 1994–1995 Democratic
25 Bill Jones 1995–2003 Republican
26 Kevin Shelley 2003–2005 Democratic
Acting Cathy Mitchell 2005 Democratic
27 Bruce McPherson 2005–2007 Republican
28 Debra Bowen 2007–2015 Democratic
29 Alex Padilla 2015–present Democratic

See also


  1. "Ca - Departments". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  2. "Safe at Home". Secretary of State of California. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  3. "Board of Trustees - California Museum". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
  4. Library, California State. "California State Library - California State Librarians". Retrieved February 19, 2017.
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