The primary and most visible responsibility of the Texas Secretary of State is the administration of elections. The Secretary of State oversees the voter registration process, including cooperating in voter registration drives with civic and service organizations such as the League of Women Voters, a non-partisan organization that encourages registration and informed voting. The Secretary of State also keeps records of all debt and Uniform Commercial Code filings. Every time someone borrows money from a bank or any other financial institution in the state, a copy of the loan agreement is filed with the Secretary of State's office.
In the Texas political universe, the Secretary of State is the highest-ranking official appointed by the Governor (with Senate approval) rather than elected by the voters. Though some critics downgrade the office's importance, the Secretary of State has ample opportunity to build statewide support, and past secretaries have used the post to build name recognition among the public and run for another statewide office.
The current Secretary of State is John Steen, appointed by Governor Perry in 2012.