Secretary of State: What The Job Involves & Why It Has Become So Political

Mar 28, 2018

Aside from overseeing state records and  administering elections, the office of Secretary of State has taken on a highly political dimension in recent years -- in New Hampshire  and elsewhere -- in part because voting-law debates have become so divisive. We'll look into what the job involves and why it has become so political.  



  • Louis Jacobson -  Senior correspondent for Politifact and staff writer for the Tampa Bay Times. He covers political races, including state legislatures, governors, and the electoral college for Governing magazine.
  • James Pindell - A Boston Globe reporter who covers New England politics, especially in New Hampshire. He used to work at WMUR-TV and remains columnist for New Hampshire Magazine
  • Dante Scala -  Political science professor at the University of New Hampshire, author of The Four Faces of the Republican Party and the Fight for the 2016 Presidential Nomination

Visit Ballotpedia for an overview of all Secretaries of State, including partisan affiliation.  Secretaries of State have become increasingly political in recent years, as reported by Lou Jacobson for Governing.  

The race in Massachusetts for Secretary of State includes Democrat Josh Zakim and Republican Anthony Amore.  The longtime incumbent is William Galvin

New Hampshire's race includes, as of now, two Democratic challengers.   The state legislature appoints the secretary of state here, and Bill Gardner has been reappointed 21 times, now in his 42nd year as N.H. Secretary of State.  In recent years, Gardner has taken some controversial positions, including on town elections and the Trump voter commission

NHPR's Casey McDermott investigated specific cases of voter fraud in New Hampshire. You can find her reporting here