For over 200 years the office of Secretary of State has played an integral role in Kentucky’s history. The delegates to the 1792 Constitutional Convention, and all three Constitutional Conventions thereafter, realized the importance of having a Secretary for the Commonwealth when they mandated the establishment of such an office. Throughout the years we can see the Secretary of State’s Office accepting additional responsibilities as they are assigned by the Executive & Legislative Branches of Kentucky’s government.

The Timeline serves as an informal history of the office itself. We are including complete text of all four of Kentucky Constitutions (as they were originally written), entries from the Governors’ Executive Journals, and other articles that provide an insight into the history, function and development of the office. The Timeline will be updated as additional information becomes available.

We especially thank Charles Zoeller for his generous donation of the text for each of the Kentucky Constitutions. Mr. Zoeller’s data entry enabled staff of the Secretary of State’s Office to have an excellent foundation for the Constitution project and provided us an opportunity to expand the Timeline with additional information.

Disclaimer: This website includes complete text of all four of Kentucky's Constitutions (as originally written), selected Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly, and other articles regarding the office and function of the Kentucky Secretary of State. Additional information will be added to this site periodically. Text included on this website was keyed by the staff of the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office. Although efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of all material, researchers should consult published versions of Kentucky Acts for official use. "Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly” may be researched at the Kentucky History Center Library, the Department for Libraries & Archives, and the Supreme Court Law Library, all in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Note: Acts included on this site may have been amended or rescinded; the information on this site is included for historical research only.)

"The Statute Law of Kentucky", Vol. III, ed. William Littell, 1811, pg. 304.

CHAPTER CCCVIII.

An ACT concerning the Secretary of this Commonwealth.

WHEREAS it appears to the legislature that the office of secretary for this commonwealth is of great importance, and requires great attention and much labor, and it is deemed expedient that the secretary shall be authorized to employ an assistant at his own expense, for whose conduct he shall be responsible; and it also seeming to the legislature that the salary annexed to that office is not equal to the services thereof, or in proportion to the salaries annexed to other offices: wherefore,

SECTION 1. BE it enacted by the general assembly, That in lieu of the salary at present payable to the secretary of this commonwealth, he shall be authorized to receive, for every year, the sum of six hundred dollars, quarterly, out of the treasury, as heretofore.

SECTION 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the secretary, with the assent of the governor, to employ an assistant, at his own proper costs and charges; which assistant, in case of indisposition, or necessary absence of the secretary, shall do the business in the name of the secretary, for which the secretary shall be as responsible as if done by himself.

This act shall commence and be in force from and after the first day of January next.