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Minnesota Agencies

Information on Minnesota State Agencies, Boards, Task Forces, and Commissions

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Secretary of State

Also known as:
Minnesota Secretary of State
Active dates:1858 -

The secretary of state shall be the custodian of the state seal and of all records and documents of the state not expressly required by law to be kept by other state officials.


The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State is a constitutional office in the executive branch of state government. It has existed since Minnesota became a state in 1858. Minnesota's first secretary of state, Francis Bassen, assumed the office on May 24, 1858. The duties of this office are described in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 5 and in various sections of the Minnesota Constitution.

Minnesota's secretary of state is elected to a 4-year term as prescribed in the state's constitution. The secretary is the keeper of the great seal of the State of Minnesota and is vested with a number of responsibilities including preserving documents filed with the state, providing certain business services to the public, maintaining the recording of financing statements under the Uniform Commercial Code and administering Safe at Home, an address confidentiality program assisting Minnesotans who fear for their safety such as victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The secretary is also the chief elections officer in Minnesota and works closely with county and local election officials to administer elections. The secretary chairs a State Canvassing Board, which certifies the results of elections.

Other official duties include serving as a member on the State Executive Council, State Board of Investment, and the Minnesota Historical Society Executive Board.

In 2020, Secretary of State Steve Simon hired Bill Ekblad to serve as the state's first cybernavigator, tasked with addressing cyber threats and disinformation threats in local elections.

Agency heads:

Francis Bassen (1858-1860); James Baker (1860-1862); David Blakeley (1862-1868); Henry Rogers (1868-1870); Hans Mattson (1870-1872); Samuel Jennison (1872-1876); John Irgens (1876-1880); Frederick Von Baumbach (1880-1887); Hans Mattson (1887-1891); Frederick Brown (1891-1895); Albert Berg (1895-1901); Peter Hanson (1901-1907); Julius Schmahl (1907-1921); Mike Holm (1921-1952); H.H. Chesterman (July 7, 1952-September 15, 1952); Mrs. Virginia Paul Holm (September 16, 1952-1955 [see notes on Secretaries of State page]; Joseph Donovan (1955-1971); Arlen Erdahl (1971-1975); Joan Anderson Growe (1975-1999); Mary Kiffmeyer (1999-2007); Mark Ritchie (2007-2015); Steve Simon (2015-present)

News clippings and documents. Agencies Notebook Collection, 1973-2020.
Record last updated: 02/24/2020

All information on this group from the Library’s collection of agency notebooks has been digitized. These materials are incorporated into the “documents/articles” section of the record. Please contact a librarian with any questions. The Minnesota Agencies database is a work in progress.

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