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 Executive Records

Official Acts of the Governor of West Virginia and Other Records

Many of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State today have come from new duties assigned by the West Virginia Legislature over the years. The role of keeper of the Governor's official papers is one of the oldest duties dating from the beginning of the State, and a traditional role of the office in most states.

The provision of West Virginia Code, Chapter 5, relating to the general powers and duties of the Governor, Secretary of State and other officials comes from Virginia, where it was adopted in 1860, and carried over into the Code of West Virginia on the formation of the state in 1863.

Article 2. Secretary of State

§5-2-1. General Duties

"The secretary of state shall be the keeper of the seals of the state, keep a journal of executive proceedings, arrange and preserve all records and papers belonging to the executive department, be charged with the clerical duties of that department, and render to the governor, in the dispatch of the executive business, such service as he may require."

Original signed copies of specific types of formal documents executed by the Governor and countersigned by the Secretary of State are filed here. In addition, the Executive Records section has taken on the role of repository of certain other legal documents, often as a result of specific legislation.

As "keeper of the seal," the Secretary of State controls the use of the seal for any purpose other than official state business . To see an image of the face of the official seal of the State of West Virginia, go to West Virginia Seal.

What Official Records Are Maintained?

Two categories of records are maintained in the division, Executive Journal records and Miscellaneous Records. All are public information and available for inspection and copying.

Executive Journal

Executive Journal graphic

Documents representing official acts of the Governor are entered into bound volumes known as the Executive Journal. These volumes have been maintained since 1863, and are housed in a vault in the Secretary of State's Office, as specified in the Constitution. The original entries in the old volumes are written in the careful, flowing script of the time.

The modern volumes retain the bound book format, but the entries are printed from a computer. All of the entries, however, bear the signature of the Governor and the Secretary of State. Details about the types of documents which are recorded in the Executive Journal are found at these links:

Miscellaneous Records

The Secretary of State has been assigned as the keeper of various other records, either by a constitutional provision or by statute.  Although these are not the Governor's papers, they are maintained in the Executive Records section.