Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Political Science


Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Sara Rinfret

Faculty Mentor Department

Political Science


Secretary of State, Northwest, elections

Subject Categories

American Politics


The purpose of this research is to provide a cross-state comparison of the role that the Secretaries of State play in their given state as well as the influence it has on national politics. In order to evaluate the role of the Secretary of State, this research will examine states in the Northwest region of the U.S. (i.e. Pacific Northwest) to determine how their formal and informal powers affect their role in their respective state. The driving research question is: what role does this position play in impacting state and national electoral politics in the U.S? In an attempt to address this question, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with staff at the five offices in the Pacific Northwest. Moreover, public administration theory will be applied as a descriptive framework to examine the interview responses. The Secretary of State’s office is an agency that 47 out of the 50 states in United States have in their government – this office can play an essential role in defining U.S. elections and politics more broadly. Moreover, 12 out of the 47 states that have a Secretary of State either appoint via governor or state legislature, while the remainder of the states elects their Secretary of State via the general public. The duties and level of participation of the Secretary of State’s office varies based on the state’s government and the powers that have been allotted to them by their respective state constitution. This research will provide a first hand account of the work that is being done in each office and the broader societal implications.

Honors College Research Project




© Copyright 2015 Hailey P. Duffin