The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing elections in the State of Ohio. The Secretary of State also is responsible for registering business entities (corporations, etc.) and granting them the authority to do business within the state, registering secured transactions, and granting access to public documents.
From 1803 to 1851, the Ohio Secretary of State was elected by the Ohio General Assembly to a three-year term. The 1851 Ohio Constitution made the office elective, with a two-year term. In 1954, the office's term was extended to four years. The Secretary of State is elected in even-numbered, off cycle years, (no Presidential elections), after partisan primary elections.
The State of Ohio's electoral votes were pivotal in the 2004 Presidential election result, and numerous questions arose concerning registration, election, and vote counting in Ohio. One of the charges raised was that of "voter suppression," a term for discouraging or impeding people from voting. 
Dirty tricks occurred across the state, including phony letters from Boards of Elections telling people that their registration through some Democratic activist groups were invalid and that Kerry voters were to report on Wednesday because of massive voter turnout. Phone calls to voters giving them erroneous polling information were also common.
Ohio election law created a five-day window (from September 30, 2008, through October 6, 2008) during which a voter may both register to vote and simultaneously cast an absentee ballot. On August 13, 2008, the Secretary of State issued Directive 2008-63, which directed county boards of elections to develop procedures for same-day registration and the issuance of absentee ballots at the time of registration. Several lawsuits were filed in conjunction with this Directive. The first suit was an original mandamus action against the Secretary filed on September 12, 2008, in the Ohio Supreme Court that challenged Directive 2008-63. See State ex rel. Colvin v. Brunner, No. 2008-1813. This was followed by an action brought by a different group of plaintiffs in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. See Project Vote v. Madison County Bd. of Elections, No. 1:08-cv-2266. That suit sought named the Madison County Board of Elections as a defendant because it had indicated that it would not enforce Directive 2008-63 to allow same-day registration and absentee balloting. The third case was filed in the Southern District of Ohio on September 26, 2008, by the Ohio Republican Party and Larry Wolpert against the Secretary of State. No. 08-00913. In a decision dated on September 30, 2008, in Appeal Nos. 08-4242, 08-4243, and 08-4251, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a decision effectively rejecting the challenges to Directive 2008-63 and denying injunctive relief. The Court of Appeals reportedly issued an en banc Order in Case No. 08-4322, Ohio Republican Party v. Jennifer Brunner, on October 14, 2008, but the decision cannot be accessed from the court's website  until October 15, 2008.
|Term||Secretary of State||Party||Image||notes|
|1803–1808||William Creighton, Jr.||Democratic-Republican|
|1831–1835||Moses H. Kirby||Whig|
|1835–1836||Benjamin B. Hinkson||Democratic||resigned February 12, 1836|
|1836–1840||Carter B. Harlan||Democratic||died|
|1850–1852||Henry W. King||Free Soil|
|1852–1856||William Trevitt (2nd)||Democratic|
|1856–1858||James H. Baker||Republican|
|1858–1862||Addison P. Russell||Republican|
|1862||Benjamin R. Cowen||Republican||resigned|
|1862–1863||Wilson S. Kennon||Republican|
|1863–1865||William W. Armstrong||Democratic|
|1865–1868||William Henry Smith||Republican||resigned|
|1869–1873||Isaac R. Sherwood||Republican|
|1873–1875||Allen T. Wikoff||Republican|
|1875–1877||William Bell, Jr.||Democratic|
|1883–1885||James W. Newman||Democratic|
|1885–1889||James Sidney Robinson||Republican|
|1889–1891||Daniel J. Ryan||Republican||Resigned April, 1891. |
|1891–1893||Christian L. Poorman||Republican|
|1893–1897||Samuel M. Taylor||Republican|
|1901–1907||Lewis C. Laylin||Republican|
|1911–1915||Charles H. Graves||Democratic|
|1915–1917||Charles Quinn Hildebrant||Republican|
|1917–1919||William D. Fulton||Democratic|
|1919–1923||Harvey C. Smith||Republican|
|1923–1927||Thad H. Brown||Republican|
|1927–1933||Clarence J. Brown Sr.||Republican|
|1933-1936||George S. Myers||Democratic|
|1936–1939||William J. Kennedy||Democratic|
|1940–1941||George M. Neffiner||Republican|
|1941–1943||John E. Sweeney||Democratic|
|1943–1949||Edward J. Hummel||Republican|
|1949–1951||Donald K. Zoller||Republican|
|1951–1979||Ted W. Brown||Republican|
|1979–1983||Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr.||Democratic|
|1991–1999||Robert A. Taft II||Republican|
|1999–2007||J. Kenneth Blackwell||Republican|
|2007—2011||Jennifer L. Brunner||Democratic|
|2011—||Jon A. Husted||Republican|
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