Secretary of State of Kansas

Secretary of State of
the State of Kansas

Seal of the Secretary of State of Kansas
Kris Kobach

since January 10, 2011
Inaugural holder John Winter Robinson

The Secretary of State of Kansas is one of the constitutional officers of the U.S. state of Kansas.


The first Secretary of State for Kansas was John Winter Robinson, a physician originally from Litchfield, Maine, but who had settled in Manhattan, Kansas in 1857. Robinson was elected in December 1859, in anticipation of statehood for Kansas, and sworn in after Kansas was admitted to the Union in February 1861.[1]

As a result of a bond scandal, Secretary Robinson was impeached on February 26, 1862, along with Governor Charles L. Robinson and State Auditor George S. Hillyer. Secretary Robinson was convicted by the Kansas Senate on June 12, 1862, and removed from his office, becoming the first state executive branch official to be impeached and removed from office in U.S. history. Hillyer was also removed from office, on June 16, but Governor Robinson was acquitted. Sanders R. Shepard succeeded to the job of Secretary of State on July 28, 1862.[1]

In 2015, Secretary Kris Kobach requested and was granted by the Kansas Legislature prosecutorial power in voter fraud cases. In October of that year, he filed his first three-vote fraud cases dealing with voting in two states.[2]



The Secretary of State is the chief elections officer of the state, administering elections and voter registration throughout the state. The office also receives campaign finance reports and registers lobbyists. The duty of regulating lobbying and campaign finance is shared with the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission. The Secretary was granted by the Kansas Legislature prosecutorial power in voter fraud cases and is the first and only Secretary of state to hold that power.[2]


The Secretary operates the Business Filing Center, which registers business entities, trademarks, trade names, and liens made pursuant to the Uniform Commercial Code.

The secretary regulates a wide variety of businesses, including sports agents, trade unions, cemeteries, and funeral homes.


The Secretary's Publications Section is responsible for publishing various legal and informational documents for the state. This includes statutory and administrative law publications such as session laws, regulations, and the state's gazette, the Kansas Register.[3]

The Secretary also operates "Safe at Home," the state's Address Confidentiality Program[4] and conducts census adjustments.[5]

Office holders


This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Daniel Woodson 1854–1857 Democratic
Frederick P. Stanton 1857 Democratic
James W. Denver 1857–1858 Democratic
Hugh Sleight Walsh 1858–1860 Democratic
George M. Beebe 1860–1861 Democratic


John Winter Robinson 1861–1862 Republican
Sanders Rufus Shepherd 1862–1863 Republican
Warren Wirt Henry Lawrence 1863–1865 Republican
Rinaldo Allen Barker 1865–1869 Republican
Thomas Moonlight 1869–1871 Republican
William Hillary Smallwood 1871–1875 Republican
Thomas Horne Cavanaugh 1875–1879 Republican
James Smith 1879–1885 Republican
Edwin Bird Allen 1885–1889 Republican
William Higgins 1889–1893 Republican
Russell Scott Osborn 1893–1895 Populist
William Corydon Edwards 1895–1897 Republican
William Eben Bush 1897–1899 Populist
George Alfred Clark 1899–1903 Republican
Joel Randall Burrow 1903–1907 Republican
Charles Eugene Denton 1907–1911 Republican
Charles Harrison Sessions 1911–1915 Republican
John Thomas Botkin 1915–1919 Republican
Lewis Julian Pettijohn 1919–1922 Republican
David Owen McCray 1922–1923 Republican
Frank Joseph Ryan 1923–1929 Republican
Edgbert Albert Cornell 1929–1933 Republican
Frank Joseph Ryan 1933–1949 Republican
Larry Ryan 1949–1951 Democratic
Paul R. Shanahan 1951–1966 Republican
Elwill M. Shanahan 1966–1978 Republican
Jack Brier 1978–1987 Republican
Bill Graves 1987–1995 Republican
Ron Thornburgh 1995–2010 Republican
Chris Biggs 2010–2011 Democratic
Kris Kobach 2011–present Republican

See also


  1. 1 2 Blackmar, Frank (1912). Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History. Standard Publishing Co. pp. 592–598.
  2. 1 2 Eveld, Edward M. (October 28, 2015). "Former Olathe couple among those charged with voter fraud by Kris Kobach". Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  3. Legal publications available from the Kansas Secretary of State
  4. Safe at Home main page
  5. Kansas census
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