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Department of the Secretary of State

 Record Group
Identifier: US-MeSA-29

Scope and Contents

The Maine State Archives (MSA) collects and holds the permanent historical records of the Maine State Government. MSA was created in 1965. By 1971, MSA housed the historical records that had been held by the Secretary of State, Legislature, Courts and Executive Departments. This included records from defunct agencies.

With the implementation of a records management system, groups of records were identified as having permanent historical value and were sent to the Archives after a designated period of time. These included Commissioner/Executive correspondence, meeting minutes from Boards and Commissions, as well as department-specific records.


  • 1620 -

Biographical / Historical

PURPOSE: The Office of the Secretary of State provides administrative and policy oversight for the Department of the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is provided for in the Constitution of the State of Maine and is therein required to attend the Governor, the Senate and the House of Representatives as they shall respectively require, to keep and preserve the records of all their official acts and proceedings, and to perform such other duties as required by law. Maine statute provides for additional duties of the Secretary of State as follows: Title 4 (notaries); Title 5 (Office of the Special Advocate, Regulatory Fairness Board, Address Confidentiality program, archives, notaries, boards and commissions, and the Administrative Procedures Act); Title 10 (service and trade marks); Title 11 (Uniform Commercial Code filings); Titles 13, 13-A, and 13-B (corporations); Title 21-A (elections and citizen initiated legislation); Title 29-A (motor vehicles); Title 30-A (election of county officers) and Title 31 (limited partnerships and limited liability companies). In all, over 800 separate sections of Maine law make reference to duties of the Secretary of State.

Specifically, the Office of the Secretary of State is responsible for the overall administration, including finances, personnel and programs, of the Department of the Secretary of State's respective bureaus: the Maine State Archives; the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions; and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

ORGANIZATION: The Secretary of State, as established by the Constitution of the State of Maine in 1820, is elected biennially by joint ballot of both houses of the Legislature. In 1862, certificates of incorporation were required to be deposited with the Secretary of State, leading to the formation of a Corporation Division in 1870. The Elections Division was established in 1891 when the Secretary of State was designated responsibility for printing and distributing ballots to towns, providing returns and performing other duties related to elections.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles was established in 1905 to provide for the registration of motor vehicles by the Secretary of State. In 1919, registration of legislative counsel and employers became a function of the Secretary of State. In 1963, the State adopted the Uniform Commercial Code to be administered by the Secretary of State as a function of the Corporation Division. Also in 1963, the Department of the Secretary of State was first recognized under law with the Secretary of State designated as its executive head.

The Maine State Archives, created in 1965 and administered by the State Archivist, was made a bureau of the Department in 1973. The Administrative Procedures Act became effective July 1, 1978.

Maine State Government Annual Report 2013-2014


3554.75 Linear Feet (5297 containers)

Language of Materials


State Agency Schedules
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Maine State Archives Repository

84 State House Station
Augusta Maine 04333