South Carolina State Government

Secretary of State


J. Mark Hammond

Since the beginnings of the colony in 1670, the Lords Proprietors deemed it neccesary to appoint a Secretary to support their appointed governors. The first duty of the Secretary was to document and record the official meetings of the colonial government. Over time, this singular position grew into a large department with many responsibilities not even remotely envisioned by the Lords Proprietors.

Per the first South Carolina Constitution of 1776, the Secretary was elected by the General Assembly, and this continued until the 1868 South Carolina Constitution specified that this Officer be elected by the people.

This key state office is responsible for the statewide registration of all corporations, trademarks, notaries, and apostilles. This office manages the incorporation of municipalities and special purpose districts, the annexation of land, and the escheatment of real property within state boundaries. The Secretary of State is the administrator and regulator of all charitable laws in South Carolina. The Secretary of State manages the publication of positions within most statewide boards and commissions, and is an ex-officio member of the South Carolina Consumer Affairs Commission and Legislative Council.

The mission of the Office of the Secretary of State is to provide innovative technology to enhance the process of accurately maintaining, preserving and making available essential records while serving the public by providing prompt, efficient, and courteous customer service in order to fulfill our statutory duties.

The Office of the Secretary of State includes three (3) sub-organizations:
- Division of Business Filings
- Division of Notaries, Boards, and Commissions
- Division of Public Charities

Past Secretaries of State




J. Mark Hammond

2003 - present
Elected on November 5, 2002, took office in January of 2003.

James M. Miles

1991 - 2003
Elected on November 6, 1990, took office in January of 1991.

John T. Campbell

1979 - 1991
Elected on November 7, 1978, took office in January of 1979.

Oscar F. Thornton

1951 - 1979
Elected on November 7, 1950, took office in January of 1951.

© 2016 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved