The Secretary of State is an elected state office. When the Governor and Lieutenant Governor are out of state, the Secretary of State must step in and perform the functions of the Governor. The Secretary of State is the keeper of the Great Seal of the State of New Mexico, and affixes the seal to all commissions issued in the name of the Governor’s Office.
At the start of each new legislative session, the Secretary of State (SOS) calls the House of Representatives to order, and presides over the body until a new Speaker of the House is elected. In addition to these statutory duties, the Secretary of State is responsible for administering the Office of the Secretary of State. The primary role is the state's chief election officer.
The Secretary of State oversees the entire election process, which includes maintaining a computerized listing of the state's registered voters, testing and evaluating voting machines, and certifying precinct boundary maps. With the passage of the 1993 Governmental Conduct Act, the agency assumed the role of state government ethics regulator. Those duties include regulating lobbyist activity, the reporting of campaign finances by candidates for public office and political action committees, the required filing of financial disclosures by candidates and state officials, plus the filing of a general code of conduct for the employees under their supervision by each elected statewide executive branch public officer and the Legislative Council.
The Secretary of State maintains records vital to commerce and industry in New Mexico. Trademarks and service marks used in New Mexico are registered in the Office of the Secretary of State. Uniform Commercial Code and the records of loans secured through financial institutions with the use of collateral must be filed with the SOS. All persons who wish to serve as a notary public must register with the Secretary of State's Office. On-line access is available to and the records of loans secured through financial institutions with the use of collateral must be filed with the SOS. On-line access is available to UCC filings, as is the list of registered lobbyists. The Secretary of State's on-line service will be expanded to include other election and commercial databases.
The Secretary of State serves as an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) and Board Member of State Records and Archives.
The Secretary of State’s Office also:
- Provides the depository for legislative journals, and maintains records of all bills passed by the State Legislature and signed by the Governor;
- Records and files referendum petitions signed by qualified electors disapproving of laws enacted during the last preceding legislative session;
- Prior to an election, ensures that proposed amendments to the New Mexico Constitution are published in at least one newspaper in every county in the state of New Mexico for four consecutive weeks, in both English and Spanish (when newspapers in both languages are published in such counties);
- Serves as the statutory agent for service of process in cases where the designated agent of a domestic corporation or foreign corporation doing business in the state dies, resigns, leaves the state, or cannot be found.
For further information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions page.