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About the Office

Constitutional Duties

The Secretary of State is one of six officials named in the Texas Constitution who form the Executive Department of the State. The Secretary is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.

Elections Division

The Elections Division is responsible for administering the Texas Election Code, the "law of the land" for Texas voters, elections, voting systems, candidates, and political parties. The Elections Division also maintains more than 11 million voter registration records on behalf of the State.

To educate future Texas voters, the Division administers Project V.O.T.E. (Voters of Tomorrow through Education). Project V.O.T.E. is a curriculum taught to students K - 12 throughout Texas to educate young Texans about the electoral process and to encourage them to vote in the future.

Business and Public Filings Division: The State's "giant filing cabinet"

The Business and Public Filings Division consists of four different sections. These sections maintain filings and records related to Texas corporations, financial and banking transactions, executive branch commissions, Legislative mandates, and other public organizations. For instance, if a Texan wants to form a corporation, he or she must file Articles of Incorporation and other information with the agency. If you are an athlete agent, the owner of a health spa, or an automobile club doing business in Texas, you must be registered with the Secretary of State.

The "Texas Register," a weekly administrative law journal that publishes a myriad of official state rules, meetings, opinions and proclamations, is published by this division. And, if you want to use the State Seal of Texas for a commercial purpose, the Secretary of State must first give permission.

Under the Administration of Governor Rick Perry

The Governor has charged the Secretary of State's Office with two additional responsibilities not contained in the Texas Constitution. By Executive Order, the Secretary of State serves as the Governor's lead liaison for Texas Border and Mexican Affairs. In this capacity, the Secretary manages an array of issues that involve the Texas-Mexico border, and Texas' relations with Mexico.

The Governor has also issued an Executive Order, directed the Secretary to serve as the State's Chief International Protocol Officer. In this role, the Secretary receives international dignitaries and delegations on behalf of the Governor and the State of Texas; and represents the Governor and the State of Texas at meetings and events with members of the international diplomatic corps.

For more information on these activities, please visit the Texas Border and Mexican Affairs-International Protocol section of this web site.

Texas State Seal

"There shall be a Seal of the State, which shall be kept by the Secretary of State, and used by him officially under the direction of the governor. The Seal of the State shall be a star of five points, encircled by olive and live oak branches, and the words, 'The State of Texas'."

Texas Constitution, article IV, section 19
August 27, 1945

Since revolutionary times, Texas has chosen the Lone Star as its symbol. The Texas Provisional Government adopted an emblem of "a single star of five points, either of gold or silver" for the Republic of Texas on March 12, 1836, 10 days after declaring independence from Mexico.

This emblem provided the basis for the first Texas seal, which in two years would take the form we recognize today. This simple and graceful design adorns both the original and new portions of our capitol building.

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas proposed a design for the reverse of the state seal. The design was adopted by the Legislature on August 26, 1961. The design for the reverse side of the State Seal of Texas consists of a shield, the lower half of which is divided into two parts.

On the shield's lower left is a depiction of the cannon of the Battle at Gonzales; on the shield's lower right is a depiction of Vince's Bridge; on the upper half of the shield is a depiction of the Alamo. Live oak and olive branches, and the unfurled flags of the Kingdom of France, the Kingdom of Spain, the United Mexican States, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America circle the shield. The reverse of the state seal now appears in color on the floor of the underground rotunda in the Capitol extension.

The state seal is required by law to be affixed to numerous documents, such as commissions for elected and appointed state and local officials; patents for land from the state; executive acts of the governor and all official documents issued from the Office of the Secretary of State. By law, the state seal also appears on gold and silver state coins; the Texas Distinguished Service Medal, and all state aircraft except those used for law enforcement purposes.