The Secretary of State of Wisconsin is an officer of the "executive branch of the "government of the "U.S. state of "Wisconsin, and the second in the "order of succession of the "Governor of Wisconsin, behind the "Lieutenant Governor.
The secretary of state is elected on "Election Day in November, and takes office on the first Monday of the next January. Originally, the secretary of state's term lasted for two years; since a 1967 amendment, however, the term has lasted four years. There is no "limit to the number of terms a secretary of state may hold.
In the event of a vacancy in the office of the secretary of state, the governor may appoint a replacement to fill the remainder of the term; this has occurred twice: upon the death of "Fred R. Zimmerman, "Louis Allis was appointed to fill the remainder of the term, and "Glenn Wise was appointed to fill the entire of the next term to which Zimmerman had been elected.
The secretary of state is required to keep a record of all the official acts of the legislative and executive branches of Wisconsin's government and to keep the "Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin and affix it to the official acts of the governor. The secretary of state—or, in practice, the Office of the Secretary of State that he heads—also files "oaths of office, files "deeds for state lands, preserves the original copies of laws, files incorporation papers and other documents for cities and villages, and issues notary authentications.
The secretary of state is also the second in the "order of succession of the "Governor of Wisconsin; under the current terms of the constitution, if the governor dies, resigns or is removed from office and the office of the "lieutenant governor is vacant, the secretary of state becomes governor, whereas in the vacancy of the lieutenant governorship and the absence from the state, impeachment or inability to serve due to illness, the secretary of state merely becomes acting governor. These terms came into effect with an amendment to the constitution in 1979; originally, in all of these events, the secretary of state simply became acting governor.
While secretaries of state have at times briefly acted as governor, none have ever become governor, or acted as governor in circumstances that would have caused them to become governor had the 1979 amendment been in effect at the time.