Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Department of State

What is the purpose of the department?

The Department of State seeks to improve the quality of life for all Floridians by
  • promoting economic development through a business-friendly corporate filing environment;
  • providing access to information and protecting democracy by overseeing fair and accurate elections;
  • enriching public libraries and supporting events that attract tourism;
  • interpret Florida's rich history and make it accessible to the public through our nationally recognized museums and historic sites; 
  • collecting important public records and preserving the state's cultural heritage and historical resources; and
  • promoting economic development through the arts.

What are the major responsibilities of the department?

The department is responsible for five major programs.
  • Corporations maintains and makes available to the public certain information on businesses operating in Florida and certain financial transactions that take place in the state, such as the filing of business entities, trade and service marks, judgment liens, and fictitious name registrations.
  • Elections provides administrative support to ensure fair and accurate elections and promotes public awareness and participation in the electoral process.
  • Library and Information Services preserves and stores state records, provides public access to state information, administers grants, and provides consultative/training services to improve local library services throughout the state.
  • Historical Resources encourages identification, evaluation, protection, preservation, collection, conservation, interpretation of, and public access to information about Florida's historic sites, properties, and objects related to Florida history and to archaeological and folk cultural heritage.
  • Cultural Affairs improves the quality of life in Florida by promoting programs with cultural and artistic significance that have an economic impact on the state, including museums.

What additional functions of interest to the public does the department perform?

The department is responsible for filing rules promulgated by state regulatory agencies. The Florida Administrative Register & Florida Administrative Code electronically publishes the Florida Administrative Register, and records and files various official records. Through the Administrative Code and Register programs, Floridians have access to the rules and regulations affecting them, as well as proposed rules, notices of public meetings, bid proposals, and other items. Services are accessible at the Florida Administrative Code & Florida Administrative Register website.

In addition, as the official custodian of the Florida State Seal, the department oversees the use or display of the state seal for reproduction or manufacturing.

How are these activities funded?

Fiscal Year: 2021-22
Fund Dollars Positions
STATE, DEPARTMENT OF
PROGRAM: CORPORATIONS
COMMERCIAL RECORDINGS AND REGISTRATIONS
10,774,363
102.00
PROGRAM: CULTURAL AFFAIRS
CULTURAL AFFAIRS
32,206,006
14.00
PROGRAM: ELECTIONS
ELECTIONS
18,152,552
52.00
PROGRAM: HISTORICAL RESOURCES
HISTORICAL RESOURCES PRESERVATION AND EXHIBITION
18,733,554
74.00
PROGRAM: LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
LIBRARY, ARCHIVES AND INFORMATION SERVICES
35,433,402
69.00
PROGRAM: OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND SUPPORT SERVICES
11,650,036
103.00
TOTAL
126,949,913
414.00

Updates

Election Administration. The 2021 Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2021-11, Laws of Florida, which amends provisions related to mail-in ballots and drop box voting. Changes in the bill include

  • limiting duration of requests for vote-by-mail ballots;
  • prohibition of certain agencies, state, and local officials from soliciting, accepting, or otherwise using private funds for election-related expenses;
  • revising requirements for uniform statewide voter registration applications;
  • requiring the Division of Elections to maintain a website for the online voter registration system;
  • additional requirements for a biennial comprehensive risk assessment of the online voter registration system; and
  • requiring the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to assist the Department of State in identifying certain residence address changes.  

Notaries Public. The 2021 Florida Legislature enacted Ch. 2021-137, Laws of Florida, which amends provisions related to public notaries adding additional requirements to perform notarial acts using electronic means. Several changes include:  

  • the requirement of the Remote Online Notary (RON) platform to store video of a notary session;
  • directing Florida DOS to include a list of RON service providers on its website;
  • removing the requirement that a foreign passport bear a U.S. stamp when performing an online notarization of a principal not located in the U.S.;
  • prohibiting a RON platform from selling its platform users' personal information;
  • allowing court reporters to remotely swear in witnesses and newly admitted attorneys via audio-video communications technology;
  • clarifying that the principal does not need to satisfy a knowledge-based authentication and credential analysis if the online notary personally knows the principal;
  • distinguishes notary fees from the RON platform's fees, and clarifies that the platform's services are not "closing services; and
  • clarifying that although an online notary may select the RON provider and no person can require the notary to use a particular RON service provider, an employer who requires online notarizations may require the online notary public employee to use of a particular RON service provider. 

Abandoned Cemeteries. Chapter 2021-60, Laws of Florida, creates the Task Force on Abandoned African-American Cemeteries. The ten-member task force will study the extent that unmarked or abandoned African-American cemeteries and burial grounds exist throughout the state. The task force will develop and recommend strategies for identifying and recording cemeteries and burial grounds while preserving local history and ensuring dignity and respect for the deceased. The Department of State will provide administrative and staff support relating to the functions of the task force. The task force will expire March 11, 2022.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
A complete list of Auditor General reports is available on its website.
Websites of Interest
Division of Corporations, Sunbiz
Florida Memory
Museum of Florida History
Performance Information
Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Chapter 15 and s. 20.10, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Secretary of State's Office, 850-245-6510, email:  SecretaryofState@dos.myflorida.com

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