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 (Note: Acts included on this site may have been amended or rescinded; the information on this site is included for historical research only.)

Governor Julian Carroll's Executive Journal, Vol. II, pg 59.

Acting Governor's Absence and Return

THIS DAY Joseph W. Prather, Acting Governor, advised that he will be leaving the State at approximately 9:00 a.m., EST, Thursday, April 13, 1978, and will not return to the State until April 14, 1978. During the absence from the State of Julian M. Carroll, Thelma L. Stovall, and Joseph W. Prather, Drexell R. Davis, Secretary of State will assume the duties of Governor during the period of April 13, 1978, at 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., April 14, 1978.

(Note: A 1992 amendment to the Kentucky Constitution ended the transfer of power when the Governor was absent from the Commonwealth.)