(1) Organization of the Office of the Secretary of State.
(a) History. The Office of the Secretary of State of the state of Montana was created by the 1889 Constitution of the state of Montana, Article VII, Section 1. The office was continued and currently exists under the 1972 Constitution of the state of Montana, Article VI, Section 1.
(b) The Office of the Secretary of State is part of the executive branch of the state government and is headed by an elected official, the Secretary of State. A variety of duties imposed on the Secretary of State by the state constitution and statute are discharged by the Secretary of State and appointed deputies under the direction of the Secretary of State with the administrative support of the divisions.
(c) Internal Structure. The internal structure of the office is administered by the Secretary of State through a chief deputy and five units:
(i) administrative rules;
(ii) business services;
(iii) elections and voter services;
(iv) official records and notary; and
(d) Attached Agency. The Commissioner of Political Practices is attached to the Office of the Secretary of State under 2-15-411, MCA, for administrative purposes only as specified in 2-15-121, MCA, exclusive of (1)(b), (1)(c), (2)(a), (2)(b), (2)(d), (2)(e), and (3)(a).
(i) The Commissioner of Political Practices is appointed by the Governor for a six-year term, subject to confirmation by a majority of the Senate. A four-member selection committee comprised of the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of the Senate, and the minority floor leaders of both houses of the Legislature submits a list of names of not fewer than two or not more than five individuals to the Governor for consideration for appointment.
(e) Attached Board. The Board of State Canvassers was transferred to the Office of the Secretary of State under the Executive Reorganization Act of 1971. The board is comprised of the State Auditor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the Attorney General. The Secretary of State is the secretary of the board and furnishes clerical support to the board. The Board of State Canvassers has no rulemaking authority.
(2) General Duties of the Office. The duties and functions of the Office of the Secretary of State are outlined in the Montana Constitution and Title 2, chapter 15, part 4, MCA. Some of the general duties include:
(a) interpreting state election laws and overseeing elections;
(b) maintaining the official records of the executive branch and the acts of the legislature;
(c) reviewing, maintaining, and distributing public interest records of businesses and nonprofit organizations;
(d) filing administrative rules adopted by state departments, boards, and agencies;
(e) attesting to the Governor's signature on executive orders, proclamations, resolutions, extradition papers, and appointments;
(f) preserving the state seal;
(g) filing and maintaining records of secured financial transactions, such as liens;
(h) serving on the Board of Land Commissioners and the Board of Examiners; and
(i) commissioning notaries public.
(3) Functions of the Office Units.
(a) Administrative Rules Unit. The unit:
(i) files and maintains the record of proposed and adopted administrative rules by state agencies;
(ii) prescribes the format for the administrative rules adopted by state agencies; and
(iii) publishes and distributes the Montana Administrative Register and the Administrative Rules of Montana.
(b) Business Services Unit. The unit:
(i) charters and regulates the charters of corporations and limited liability companies organized under the laws of Montana;
(ii) grants corporate recognition to alien and foreign corporations and limited liability companies doing intrastate business in Montana;
(iii) maintains the record on the charters of Montana corporations and limited liability companies and alien and foreign corporations and limited liability companies;
(iv) registers trademarks and maintains the record of registered trademarks;
(v) files certificates of limited and limited liability partnerships of Montana and foreign limited partnerships and maintains the record of limited and limited liability partnerships;
(vi) files and maintains the record of financing statements, federal tax liens, statements of assignment, amendment statements, and termination statements under the Uniform Commercial Code, prepares and maintains computer records available by direct public access relating to the foregoing duties;
(vii) assembles, prepares, and publishes the federal farm products lien list for buyers under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture;
(viii) charters and maintains the charters of limited liability corporations; and
(ix) receives and processes service of process on the Secretary of State as agent for service of process of certain corporations.
(c) Elections and Voter Services Unit. The unit:
(i) files and maintains the record of declarations of nomination of candidates for state and district offices;(ii) publishes and distributes the election laws;
(iii) promulgates rules and guidance for the uniform conduct of elections in the state;
(iv) prepares, publishes, and distributes instruction manuals for election judges;
(v) prescribes forms for use in elections;
(vi) prepares and certifies official primary and general election ballots for state and district offices to local election administrators;
(vii) assists and advises local election administrators in election matters;
(viii) receives and files petitions of electorate for special measures and constitutional amendments for ballot access;
(ix) assists in the canvass of the results of elections;
(x) prescribes forms of materials, reviews written plans, adopts rules, and establishes procedures for mail ballot elections;
(xi) adopts rules and supervises evaluation and changes in voting places to ensure accessibility by handicapped voters;
(xii) prepares and distributes the roster of legislators;
(xiii) files conveyances to the state; and
(xiv) prepares, publishes, and distributes the Voter Information Pamphlet on special measures and constitutional amendments.
(d) Official Records and Notary Unit. The unit:
(i) establishes and promotes guidelines for inventorying, cataloging, retaining, and preserving public records of all executive branch agencies of state government;
(ii) operates state records center for the purpose of storing and servicing public records;
(iii) assists in the establishment and promotion of records and information management procedures in the legislative and judicial branches of state government;
(iv) issues certificates on the record and copies of the record relating to the foregoing duties;
(v) files official bonds of notaries public and distributes commissions of notaries public;
(vi) receives and processes service of process on the Secretary of State as agent for service of process of nonresident motor vehicle users involved in accidents on Montana highways;
(vii) attests and affixes the Great Seal to the public declarations of the Governor;
(viii) receives and files legislative bills signed by the Governor and assigns chapter numbers for the session laws of Montana;
(ix) receives and maintains bills introduced to the Legislature;
(x) receives and maintains the journals of the Legislature;
(xi) maintains the record of executive reorganization under the Executive Reorganization Act;
(xii) files and maintains the record of official acts of the Governor in the executive record;
(xiii) files oaths of office of state and district officers and members of state boards;
(xiv) files records of presidential pardons, interlocal cooperation agreements, public printer affidavits, local government plans, facsimile signature affidavits of public officers, and various other public documents;
(xv) maintains a register of applications for pardons and commutation of sentence; and
(xvi) maintains the record of requisitions for extradition to and from the state of persons charged with crimes.
(e) Operations Unit. The unit:
(i) provides the fiscal, human resources, security, website, communications, and legal support for the office.
(4) Board Memberships. The Secretary of State is a member of the Board of Examiners, the Board of Land Commissioners, and the Local Government Records Committee.
(5) Information and Submissions. General inquiries regarding the office may be addressed to the Montana Secretary of State, Room 260, State Capitol, P.O. Box 202801, Helena, Montana 59620-2801.
(6) Organizational Chart. The organizational chart of the Office of the Secretary of State is attached as part of this rule and by this reference is incorporated.
Secretary of State
January 4, 2021