Who runs elections in each state?

March 1, 2022
Election Reformers Network

The Chief Election Officer (CEO) in each state varies according to state law. Most commonly (in 38 states), this title applies to the Secretary of State. Thirty-one of these secretaries are elected; the other seven are appointed by a partisan body (the governor or state legislature).

In 10 states, the CEO is appointed by, to, or in service of a board of elections/election commission. In nine states, a board serves in tandem with a secretary of state. Learn more about these bodies by reading our Primer on State Election Boards and Commissions.

In Alaska and Utah, an elected Lieutenant Governor serves as CEO.

Who is in charge of elections in each state?