Office of the Secretary of the State
At a Glance
SUSAN BYSIEWICZ, Secretary of the State
Lesley Mara, Deputy Secretary of the State
Established - 1639
Statutory authority - CGS Sec. 3-77ff State Constitution
Central office - 30 Trinity Street,
Hartford, CT 06106
Number of employees - General Fund:
29 permanent full-time
Commercial Recording Division: 56 permanent full-time
Recurring operating expenses:
General Fund: $2,780,741
Commercial Recording Division: $7,078,192
Revenue deposited -
General Fund: $10,751,034
Commercial Recording Division: $8,026,759
Organizational structure - Commercial Recording Division (Diane Steir, Manager); Legislation and Elections Administration Division (Michael Kozik, Managing Attorney); Management and Support Services Division (Blanche Reeves-Tucker, Fiscal Administrative Manager); Human Resources (Susan Phillips, Manager); Information Technology (Terrance Babcock, Manager).
Through the commitment of a knowledgeable staff and advanced technology, the Office of the Secretary of the State works as a team to provide a wide range of services for the people and businesses of Connecticut.
We are a repository of records for the state, and provide important information and resources regarding business and commercial filings, elections, and authentication as prescribed by the constitution, and federal and state laws.
We seek to support business development opportunities, and foster a more inclusive political process by educating, informing and engaging communities in youth and civic participation.
Our vision is to be the leader in providing prompt quality service, increasing access to information, and promoting participation in the democratic process.
The Secretary of the State is designated by the Constitution and General Statutes of Connecticut as the official keeper of a wide array of public records and documents. The office is a vital source of information regarding various businesses, commercial lenders, elections, legislation, regulations and other areas, and responds to more than 600,000 requests for information annually. It also publishes, distributes and sells the State Register and Manual and other publications.
Connecticut law makes the Secretary of the State responsible for the administration of many aspects of business law including the approval of all certificates of incorporation, organization and dissolution, as well as annual and biennial reports. Trademarks are registered here as well.
As Commissioner of Elections for the State of Connecticut, the Secretary is charged to administer, interpret and implement election laws and ensure fair and impartial elections. Under the terms of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, the Secretary has the same responsibility for federal elections.
The Office of the Secretary of the State is firmly committed to a personnel management program designed to ensure equal opportunity for all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, marital status, national origin, ancestry, mental retardation, physical disability, prior convictions of a crime, sexual preference, past or present history of mental disorder or political affiliation. The elimination of sexual harassment and Workplace Violence is also an important element of the agency's comprehensive affirmative action program. The agency established a multi-cultural advisory committee in 2003 to assist in affirmative action/cultural issues.
The office serves the public through six divisions:
· Commercial Recording files and maintains legally required records showing the formation of and fundamental changes to corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships and other businesses. The Commercial Recording Division (CRD) disseminates that information to the general public and the business, banking and legal communities. Transactions relevant to security interests in personal property are perfected by filing statements under the Uniform Commercial Code statutes with the Research and Response unit. These filings protect the holder of the security interest by securing the lien and providing public notice that such interest exists. Trade, service, collective, certification and device marks are granted registration and the division investigates and collects fees and penalties from foreign corporations doing business in Connecticut without authority. CRD offers real time access to corporate and UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) documents via the Internet. Anyone who has access to the Internet can go to the Secretary of the State's website and then to CRD's database called "CONCORD". You may obtain names and addresses of corporate officers and directors, business addresses and a listing of all filings made for that business. Our Public Service Area is open for customers at 8:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. These expanded hours have given the business community more time during the business day to submit requests and file documents. The division is responsible for administering The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which provides services to victims of crime.
· The Address Confidentiality Program (ACP), which became effective on January 1, 2004. Program participants are residents of the State of Connecticut who have recently relocated and whose new location is unknown to the abuser and undocumented in government records. The goal of the Address Confidentiality Program is to help crime victims (family violence, sexual assault, injury or risk of injury to a minor, or stalking) keep their new address confidential. The Address Confidentiality Program offers its participants two services, each of which helps keep the victim’s new location secret. One part is the participant’s use of an ACP substitute mailing address. The ACP provides cost-free mail forwarding services. The Office of the Secretary of the State serves as each program participant’s legal agent for service of process and receipt of first class mail. The second part of the program prevents public access to a participant’s actual address on government records including voter registry lists and keeps marriage records confidential.
· The Legislation and Elections Administration Division administers, interprets and implements all state and federal laws pertaining to elections, primaries, nominating procedures, campaign finance and the acquisition and exercise of voting rights. Financial disclosure statements from party, political and candidate committees are filed with the office and are available for public view electronically on the Secretary of the State's website. The Division also encourages and monitors the implementation of the National Voter Registration Act and other voter registration efforts in Connecticut. In conjunction with local Town Clerks and Registrars of Voters, the division provides training for local elected officials. The division, working with local officials, has put into operation a statewide-computerized voter registry system, which complies with the Help America Vote Act. With state and local officials and candidates, the division has also completed a Campaign Finance Information System (CFIS), which provides online campaign finance reporting and has developed the "File-It" system for campaign finance disclosure of paper reports which have been scanned and posted to the Secretary’s website.
In addition the division is the official keeper of all acts, orders, grants and resolutions of the General Assembly, publishes the State Register and Manual, receives and maintains legislation, regulations and a wide range of other public documents as required by statute, administers Connecticut’s notary public program, and maintains the “Interactive” State Register & Manual on the Secretary of the State’s website, updating information on state, local, and federal government on a weekly basis.
· Information Technology is responsible for the administration, support, development and maintenance of all computer systems and related applications within the agency. It also provides support to the Centralized Voter Registration system, CONCORD (Connecticut Online Commercial Recording Database), Connecticut Finance Information System, Agency website and all E-Government initiatives within the agency.
· Management and Support Services supports the office in the areas of human resources, affirmative action, fiscal administration, business, revenue depositing, purchasing, data processing and other support services as well as being the distribution and sales agent for the Connecticut State Register and Manual (the “Blue Book”) and other agency publications.
· Citizenship and Education Programs
A fair and impartial election process can only exist in a healthy democracy where there is active and consistent citizen participation. Because of concern over declining voter participation and to maintain a high level of voter registration, the Secretary of the State's office offers several programs to the public.
· Student Citizenship Awards: An annual award is presented to one high school senior and one eighth grade student in participating Connecticut public, parochial and independent middle and high schools. The school selects students for the award using criteria provided by the Secretary of the State's office including community service, leadership, excellent attendance and scholastic records and participation in school government programs and organizations. In 2004, 97 middle schools and 75 high schools participated in the program, and the Secretary of the State, members of her staff or members of the General Assembly presented 73 awards in person.
· Citizenship Essay Contest: A writing and citizenship program for fourth grade students on the theme, “Describe a unique place in Connecticut and why you would recommend it to someone visiting our state” complements the fourth grade curriculum on writing skills and Connecticut history, including historic attractions in Connecticut. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz and the Office of Tourism, the contest co-sponsor, gave Twenty-five (25) winners awards and gifts at the Hartford Historical Society.
· Citizenship Poster Contest: This is a contest for fifth grade students designed to heighten awareness of good citizenship and its significance in a healthy democracy. Themes were: Voting”; “Environmental”; “Helping”; “Multiple Civic Ideas” and “Respect and Responsibility”. The top 20 winners were invited to an award ceremony at the State Capitol, and later had their winning posters put on display in the concourse of the Legislative Office Building.
· Capitol Forum: This Choices for the 21st Century program initiated by Brown University engages high school students in consideration of international issues and seeks to strengthen the quality of civic life in the United States. Co-sponsors, in addition to the Secretary of the State's office, are the League of Women Voters, Connecticut Education Fund, Inc., Connecticut Council for Social Studies, the University of Connecticut Institute of Public Service and the Choices for the 21st Century Education Project, and the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.
· First Vote Connecticut: A program for high school juniors and seniors providing information on the importance of voting, voting procedures and democratic principles. First Vote includes a brief curriculum for teachers, handbooks for students, and coded voter registration cards. Already used in more than 100 schools in Connecticut, this national program is co-sponsored by the Close-Up Foundation.
· Internship program: The office recruits interns from public and private colleges and universities in Connecticut and other states (via the Internet and postings in career centers and libraries). Internships are unpaid, but academic credit can be arranged with the consent of the college.
· Youth Vote: This program, with the approval and cooperation of local elected officials, enables students to visit polling sites on election day, accompanied by a parent or guardian, to cast a ballot similar in content to the official ballot.
· Public Service Awards: The Public Service Awards are given to individuals who have contributed to the civic life of their communities on a volunteer basis. Mayors and First Selectman across the state nominate individuals to receive the award, which is presented at a ceremony in each congressional district.
· Business Initiatives: The Secretary of the State’s business initiatives includes the Small & Minority Business Showcase. This project has been able to assist over 6,500 entrepreneurs since its inception in March 2000. Several state, federal and municipal agencies participate in order to reach the demographics of small businesses across the state. The project also collaborates with corporate and private entities to build relationships that together assist small enterprises. There are two business showcases each year, which serve as a one-stop opportunity for the business owner. In addition, other business programs include seminars and networking events designed to assist entrepreneurs in achieving their highest potential. Small businesses benefit by participating in all of the events. Entrepreneurs who wish to participate should contact the Small and Minority Business Services Unit at the Secretary of the State’s Office.
· Safety: The Agency re-instituted the Safety Committee to discuss overall employee wellness and safety, and conducted Safety Awareness Day with visiting representatives from area health and public safety organizations.
· Awareness: The Agency also held employee programs on sexual harassment, cross cultural dialog, and the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee was started in 2003.
· Records Management: The Records and Archiving Unit provides records and archives management services to all divisions of the Office of the Secretary of the State, and acts as the Office’s liaison to the Public Records Administrator, as required by state law. It administers on and off-site storage of and access to a wide variety of records filed with and generated by the Office; creates microfilm and digital copies of records (approximately 400,000 images in fiscal year 2004/2005); researches and prepares record retention schedules; prepares indexes and guides to groups and series of records; conducts research into the legal history of filings made with the Office; provides records research assistance to the other divisions of the Office and to the public; and maintains the Office law library.
INTRODUCING NEW VOTING TECHNOLOGY: In August 2006, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz unveiled new voting technology for the citizens of Connecticut which brings Connecticut into compliance with the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), provides a paper trail for every vote cast, allows those with disabilities the chance to vote privately and independently for the first time, and ensures the long-term security and reliability of Connecticut’s elections. Thanks to these efforts, Connecticut is now in full compliance with HAVA for the November 2006 elections.
UConn Voting Technology Research Center: In order to promote public trust and confidence of new voting technology and to ensure that new voting technology is secure and accurate, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz formed a partnership with the University of Connecticut's (UConn) Department of Computer Science and Engineering to establish the UConn Voting Technology Research Center (VoTeR Center). The Center will assist the Office of the Secretary of the State in the completion of the necessary certification and acceptance testing required to ensure that any voting system certified for use in Connecticut meets all necessary requirements and has passed rigorous security testing.
“Affiliate and Participate”: In the summer of 2006, the Office of the Secretary of the State launched a campaign called “Affiliate and Participate,” encouraging unaffiliated voters and those not registered at all to register with one of the two major political parties in order to vote in the August 8th. As a result, 32,000 people citizens either registered to vote for the first time or switched their affiliation to either Democrat or Republican. This helped lead to more than forty-three percent of the voters participating in the primary, the highest turnout rate in Connecticut’s history of state primaries.
The Secretary of the State's office continues to upgrade many of its systems to take advantage of new technology, which automates and improves the way it does business. All employees currently have voice-mail, e-mail and Internet access, which facilitate communication and eliminate unnecessary paperwork.