Duties & Responsibilities
As Ohio’s chief elections officer, the Secretary of State oversees the elections process and appoints the members of boards of elections in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. The Secretary of State supervises the administration of election laws; reviews statewide initiative and referendum petitions; chairs the Ohio Ballot Board, which approves ballot language for statewide issues; canvasses votes for all elective state offices and issues; investigates election fraud and irregularities; trains election officials, and works with counties to train poll workers. The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office also compiles and maintains election statistics and other election-related records.
Campaign Finance Compliance
Statewide candidates’ campaign finance reports are filed with the office, together with the reports for state political action committees (PACs), state political parties and legislative caucus campaign committees.
The Secretary of State is a member of the Ohio Apportionment Board, which meets every 10 years following the decennial census. The five-member board redraws boundaries for each of the 99 Ohio House and 33 Ohio Senate districts to reflect population changes. Other members of the Apportionment Board are the Governor, the Auditor of State and two members, one Republican and one Democrat, appointed by state legislative leaders.
The Business Services Division receives and approves articles of incorporation for Ohio business entities and grants licenses to out-of-state corporations seeking to do business in Ohio. Limited partnerships and limited liability companies also file with the Secretary of State’s office.
The Corporations Section of the Business Services Division also approves amendments to filed documents, mergers, consolidations and dissolutions, registers trademarks, trade names, service marks and fictitious names. This section also approves and keeps a registry of business names, names and addresses of statutory agents, incorporators’ names, corporations’ charter numbers, dates of incorporation, and the number of authorized shares per corporation.
Documenting Secured Commercial Transactions
Secured parties file financing statements in the Uniform Commercial Code section of the Business Services Division to claim an interest in collateral used for a loan and to have the claim indexed for public notice.
The Secretary of State provides authentication of documents for use overseas. Authentications are in the form of either an apostille or a gold seal certificate. Apostilles are used for documents pertaining to countries that are part of the Hague Convention of 1961. Gold seal certificates are used if a country is not part of this convention.
All laws passed by the Ohio General Assembly, municipal charters, administrative rules adopted by agencies, and executive orders issued by the Governor are filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
The Secretary of State’s office licenses ministers for the purpose of solemnizing marriages in Ohio. Licenses are issued to any ordained or licensed minister of any religious society or congregation requesting the license.
Part of the Secretary of State’s office, the Notary Commission maintains records of all registered notaries in Ohio.