Hammond: SC secretary of state’s office runs well, shouldn’t be expanded

09/03/2014 12:00 AM

09/02/2014 6:04 PM

Technology is changing every aspect of our lives — from the way we work to the way we communicate to the way we run government.

Twelve years ago, when I became secretary of state, the office had limited Internet service, no email, no way of accepting electronic payments. A lot has changed since then.

Today, we’ve taken advantage of all that technology offers us to streamline government, given citizens more access to more information and made it easier to do business in South Carolina.

We’ve opened online access to filings for corporations, charitable organizations, notaries and the Uniform Commercial Code. Through S.C. Business One Stop, we’ve created an award-winning, easy-to-use online portal that has modernized the way this state does business with businesses.

Just this summer, we launched an online database of the state’s boards and commissions. Now, information that used to be published only twice a year is updated and available in real time, bringing more transparency to governance.

Never has this state been more accessible to our citizens. That’s efficiency in state government that I believe people are looking for from their elected officials.

As the state’s chief records administrator, it’s my responsibility to receive, record and publish specific information on companies, municipalities and governmental entities. It’s also my responsibility to regulate charities and professional fundraisers to protect S.C. donors.

I believe that it’s my duty to continuously strive to limit the scope of government by adhering strictly to the principles and duties of my office as outlined by our state constitution and Code of Laws. I also believe that government should be run cost effectively, as my office has done.

There are those, however, who want to move beyond that limited scope — who want to make this office something that it is not. The secretary of state’s office is not a repository for demographic profiles. It’s not a database of personal information. It’s not a free-for-all filing cabinet.

The secretary of state is the person you entrust for the safekeeping of public documents that should be made available to every citizen, the one who oversees charitable organizations and doesn’t abdicate charity monitoring to the whims of the IRS. As your secretary of state, I’ll continue to do just that.

Mark Hammond

S.C. secretary of state

Columbia

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