The mission of the Office of Secretary of State is to effectively and efficiently serve the public by performing its statutory duties to ensure the integrity of elections, facilitate business filings, protect consumers against securities fraud, preserve public records, and to promote public awareness and education in these and related areas.
We take this mission statement very seriously in the secretary of state’s office. Our goal is to continue to deliver the best service possible to residents and businesses alike. I feel very strongly that my office has made tremendous strides in providing more efficient and timely service through the enhanced use of technology, including providing a Web site that gets about 3 million hits per month.
During fiscal year 2002, agency revenue climbed to more than $52.2 million, an increase of more than 30 percent over fiscal year 2001. Expenditures were held to approximately $8.5 million. Over $6 in revenue was generated for each dollar spent, and revenue per full-time employee rose to more than $414,400.
Much of the credit for the agency’s strong fiscal showing is a direct reflection of the expanded use of technology, as well as an increase mandated by the Legislature on several fees charged by the commercial recordings division. The greater use of technology has permitted the agency to increase revenue, control costs and increase employee productivity, while at the same time improving service.
During the 2003 legislative session, we will seek to clean up provisions relating to business filings, continue our efforts to standardize all forms used by this office, and work with legislators to provide increased use of technology through the electronic filing of all documents required by the secretary of state’s office. More than 200 forms are now available on-line from this agency.
A new processing system is currently under development that will allow my office to better utilize today’s technology in a more timely and efficient manner. Each year the commercial recordings division processes more than 200,000 annual lists, 50,000 new business filings and 40,000 UCC, among others filings and requests. Through the use of advanced technology, we can better serve our customers without increasing staff and space requirements.
Of course, one of the major areas for which the secretary of state is responsible is overseeing elections in the state of Nevada. As the state’s chief elections officer, I will approach the 2003 legislative session seeking several very important changes and additions to our state election laws.
One of the key bill draft requests (BDRs) we have submitted calls for the adoption of a statewide voter registration system, something I have advocated during the last three legislative sessions. I feel strongly that the Legislature will finally heed the call for the adoption of such a system, based on Congress passing the “Help America Vote Act of 2002”, which was signed into law by President Bush. The act requires states to implement a statewide voter registration system by 2004.
A comprehensive, unified statewide voter registration system would link all 17 Nevada counties to one another, thus helping to prevent voter fraud by eliminating duplicate registrations. I will advocate for this system to be linked to the Department of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of Vital Statistics, and to surrounding states to better ensure clean voter registration lists.
Another BDR I have submitted to the 2003 Legislature would continue my efforts to enhance campaign finance reform in Nevada. This proposal attempts to achieve several goals relating to campaign contributions and expenses reports (C&E Reports):
Makes the filing of a C&E Report an annual requirement for all candidates, elected officials, political action committees, ballot advocacy groups and political parties.
Combines disposition of unspent contributions, contributions over $10,000, and ethics financial disclosure forms into the newly created annual C&E Report filings.
Would require all C&E Reports to be filed with the secretary of state’s office, thus allowing for more efficient enforcement, and for reports to be more readily available to the public.
And finally, in my official capacity, I will be supporting several important legislative measures: establishment of a Voter’s Bill of Rights; establishment of election day registration; strengthening of security law penalties; and clean-up of notary laws.