The position of Secretary of State is one of the many elected officers that every state has, including New Mexico. If something were to happen to the governor as well as the state’s lieutenant governor, the Secretary of State would rise to the role.
Additionally, when both of those elected officials are not in New Mexico, the Secretary of State fulfills the governor’s functions until their return.
The New Mexico Secretary of State is responsible for records regarding all bills that get signed and turn into law. They are also responsible for records related to legislative journals as well as referendum petitions.
Additionally, this office ensures that any proposed amendments for the state’s constitution get published. This publishing must be in Spanish as well as English and occur in a minimum of one newspaper within each county, four weeks in a row.
The NM Secretary of State also takes on the role of a maintaining a list of registered agents in New Mexico for dealing with certain lawsuits. The Secretary also keeps the New Mexico Great Seal. The Secretary is in charge of affixing this seal to any commissions that are issued with the governor’s name.
To become the Secretary of State in New Mexico, a person must meet the requirements outlined in the state’s constitution. They must be a United States citizen who is thirty years old or older. They must also have lived within New Mexico continuously for five years before their election.
The Constitution of New Mexico establishes a term limit for the Secretary of State. This limit is two terms that are consecutive.
The New Mexico Secretary of State is elected for a four-year term. This is done during the country’s mid-term elections, meaning the even years which do not correspond to a presidential election. The most recent election was in November 2018 and the next ones will be in 2022 and 2026.
The state’s Constitution outlines the process for filling vacancies in the position. In this case, the governor makes an appointment for the Secretary of State. The appointee then serves up to the following general election.
Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, is the current New Mexico Secretary of State. She was elected in November 2016, being sworn into office on Dec. 9 of that year. The most recent election took place in November 2018.
Prior to Toulouse Oliver, the Secretary of State for New Mexico was Brad Winter, a Democrat, who Governor Susana Martinez appointed in December 2015. Winter was the replacement for Dianna Duran, also a Republican. Duran broke an 8-year streak in which New Mexico only elected democratic Secretaries of State. Duran ended up resigning during October 2015 due to potential impeachment from criminal charges.
The most recent year with easily accessible budget information for the Secretary of State in New Mexico was 2012. This information indicated a budget of $5,405,300. As of the most recent data, the New Mexico Secretary of State receives an annual salary equal to $85,000.
The Secretary is also in charge of maintaining business records. This means they handle all new filings and amendments. They do not keep track of the members or managers of LLCs, though, as the state allows anonymous LLC formations. They do keep track of the company's registered agent in New Mexico so they know how to contact the company if needed.
There are four divisions within the office of the Secretary of State in New Mexico.
The Bureau of Elections enforces election laws and administers elections. This includes training technicians for voting machines as well as county clerks in addition to maintaining the database of voter registration, among other duties.
The Information Systems Division is responsible for computer systems. This division additionally provides assistance to the Bureau of Elections to manage the system for voter registration.
The Ethics Administration is responsible for regulating campaign finance. It also regulates lobbying and engages in ethics training.
The Operations Division performs business-related and administrative services to New Mexico residents.