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The Secretary of State of New York is a cabinet officer in the government of the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker.


The office of the Secretary of State of New York was established in 1778, and is one of the oldest government agencies of the state of New York.

Until 1822, the Secretary of State was appointed by the Council of Appointment for an indefinite term , but could be substituted at any time, especially if the majority party in the Council changed. Besides his other duties, the Secretary of State was also the secretary of the Council of Appointment.

From 1823 to 1845, the Secretary was elected by joint ballot of the New York State Legislature for a term of three years.

From 1847 on, the Secretary and the other state cabinet officers were elected by the voters at the state elections in November in odd years to a two-year term, so that, until 1877, they served in the second half of the term of the governor in office and the first half of the term of the succeeding governor, since the governors at the time were elected to a two-year term in even years. From 1877 on, the Governor served a three-year term, while the Secretary continued to be elected for two years.

The Secretary elected in 1895 received an additional year and served a three-year term, and from 1898 on, the Secretary and other state officers were elected in even years to a two-year term at the same time as the Governor, and they served concurrently.

In 1926, during the governorship of Al Smith, the state administration was re-organised, and the office became appointive and has remained so. The last Secretary elected was Florence E. S. Knapp, the first appointed by the Governor was Robert Moses.


The Secretary is responsible for the regulation of a number of businesses and professions, including private investigators, cosmetologists, real estate brokers and appraisers, and notaries public. The Secretary also regulates cemeteries, registers corporations and business organizations, and maintains business records under the Uniform Commercial Code and other laws.

The Secretary's office includes the Office of Local Government Services, which provides training assistance to local governments in areas such as fire prevention, coastal management, and code enforcement.

The current Secretary of State of New York is Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez.

List of Secretaries of State

Secretary of State Tenure Party Notes
John Morin Scott March 13, 1778 – September 14, 1784 died in office
Lewis Allaire Scott October 23, 1784 – March 17, 1798 son of John Morin Scott; died in office; longest-serving Secretary of State (13 years and almost 5 months)
Daniel Hale March 24, 1798 – August 10, 1801 Federalist
Thomas Tillotson August 10, 1801March 16, 1806 Democratic-Republican
Elisha Jenkins March 16, 1806February 16, 1807 Democratic-Republican
Thomas Tillotson February 16, 1807February 1, 1808 Dem.-Rep./Lewisite
Elisha Jenkins February 1, 1808February 2, 1810 Dem.-Rep./Clintonian
Daniel Hale February 2, 1810February 1, 1811 Federalist
Elisha Jenkins February 1, 1811February 23, 1813 Democratic-Republican
Jacob R. Van Rensselaer February 23, 1813February 16, 1815 Federalist
Peter Buell Porter February 16, 1815February 12, 1816 Democratic-Republican
Robert L. Tillotson February 12, 1816April 16, 1817 son of Thomas Tillotson
Charles D. Cooper April 16, 1817April 24, 1818 Democratic-Republican son-in-law of Acting Governor John Tayler
John Van Ness Yates April 24, 1818February 14, 1826 Democratic-Republican first appointed, in 1823 re-elected by the State Legislature
Azariah Cutting Flagg February 14, 1826January 11, 1833 Democratic-Republican three terms; then elected New York State Comptroller
John Adams Dix February 1, 1833February 4, 1839 Democrat two terms
John Canfield Spencer February 4, 1839 – October 1841 Whig resigned to become U.S. Secretary of War
Archibald Campbell October 1841 – February 7, 1842 (none) as Deputy Secretary, acted until the election of a successor
Samuel Young February 7, 1842February 8, 1845 Dem./Barnburner
Nathaniel S. Benton February 8, 1845December 31, 1847 Dem./Hunker legislated out of office by State Constitution of 1846
Christopher Morgan January 1, 1848December 31, 1851 Whig first Secretary elected by general ballot; two terms
Henry S. Randall January 1, 1852December 31, 1853 Democrat
Elias W. Leavenworth January 1, 1854December 31, 1855 Whig
Joel T. Headley January 1, 1856December 31, 1857 American
Gideon J. Tucker January 1, 1858December 31, 1859 Democrat
David R. Floyd-Jones January 1, 1860December 31, 1861 Democratic
Horatio Ballard January 1, 1862December 31, 1863 Union
Chauncey Depew January 1, 1864December 31, 1865 Union
Francis C. Barlow January 1, 1866December 31, 1867 Republican
Homer A. Nelson January 1, 1868December 31, 1871 Democrat two terms
G. Hilton Scribner January 1, 1872December 31, 1873 Republican
Diedrich Willers, Jr. January 1, 1874December 31, 1875 Democrat
John Bigelow January 1, 1876December 31, 1877 Democrat
Allen C. Beach January 1, 1878December 31, 1879 Democrat
Joseph B. Carr January 1, 1880December 31, 1885 Republican three terms
Frederick Cook January 1, 1886December 31, 1889 Democrat two terms
Frank Rice January 1, 1890December 31, 1893 Democrat
John Palmer January 1, 1894December 31, 1898 Republican two terms (1894–1895, 1896–98)
John T. McDonough January 1, 1899December 31, 1902 Republican two terms
John F. O'Brien January 1, 1903December 31, 1906 Republican two terms
John S. Whalen January 1, 1907December 31, 1908 Dem./Ind. L.
Samuel S. Koenig January 1, 1909December 31, 1910 Republican
Edward Lazansky January 1, 1911December 31, 1912 Democrat
Mitchell May January 1, 1913December 31, 1914 Democrat
Francis Hugo January 1, 1915December 31, 1920 Republican three terms
John J. Lyons January 1, 1921December 31, 1922 Republican
James A. Hamilton January 1, 1923December 31, 1924 Democrat
Florence E. S. Knapp January 1, 1925January 17, 1927 Republican first woman in this office; and last elected Secretary of State
Robert Moses January 17, 1927January 1, 1929 Republican first Secretary of State appointed by the Governor
Edward J. Flynn January 1, 1929January 17, 1939 Democrat
Michael F. Walsh January 17, 1939 – January 1, 1943 Democratic
Thomas J. Curran January 1, 1943January 1, 1955 Republican
Carmine DeSapio January 1, 1955January 1, 1959 Democratic
Caroline K. Simon January 1, 1959August 22, 1963 Republican appointed a judge of the New York Court of Claims
John P. Lomenzo August 22, 1963January 1, 1974 Republican
John J. Ghezzi January 1, 1974January 1, 1975 Republican
Mario Cuomo January 1, 1975December 31, 1978 Democrat elected Lieutenant Governor
Basil Paterson January 1, 1979January 1, 1983 Democrat
Gail Shaffer January 1, 1983January 4, 1995 Democrat
Alexander Treadwell January 4, 1995April 12, 2001 Republican became Chairman of the Republican State Committee
Randy Daniels April 12, 2001September 23, 2005 Republican a Democrat when appointed, became a Republican in 2002, resigned
Frank Milano September 23, 2005April 19, 2006 Republican as First Deputy Secretary acted until the appointment of a successor
Christopher Jacobs April 19, 2006January 1, 2007 Republican
Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez January 1, 2007 – (incumbent) Democrat



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