Secretary of State

The Secretary of State keeps records of all North Carolina businesses and ensures they comply with the law. The Secretary of State also supports economic growth and protects people from misrepresentation and fraud. 

There are 2 candidates for the office of North Carolina Secretary of State.

Elaine Marshall (D)
E.C. Sykes (R)

All answers are provided in text and audio files for each candidate. To navigate through the questions you may either scroll through this page to read or listen to their answers, or use the links below to jump directly to specific questions.

The primary candidates for the office of North Carolina Secretary of State were each asked the following questions:

The complete audio of all responses for the Secretary of State’s race:

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Spanish:

Question 1: What are your top three priorities?

E. C. Sykes (R)

(1) Improve the business environment in North Carolina.

(2) Increase transparency in our state government.

(3) Honor the rule of law and protect voter integrity by ending the practice of allowing illegal aliens to serve as notaries.

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Audio (Spanish):

Elaine Marshall (D)

Cybersecurity – We have valuable public databases used daily by business to make decisions that bring down the cost of doing business in North Carolina.

E-Closings – Increase the adoption for residential and commercial transactions. The closings are cost effective for lenders and borrowers.

Consumer Protection – Protecting all citizens, especially seniors, from investment scams, harmful counterfeit goods & medicines, and other products.

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Question 2: How can we expand the use of advance directives, including psychiatric directives?

E. C. Sykes (R)

Spreading awareness is key. North Carolinians should be educated on why they should utilize an advance directive—thinking about the treatment you would prefer if you’re not able to make the decision for yourself at the time is not on the forefront of most citizens’ minds, but it’s nonetheless important. It’s equally important that the documents outlining these wishes remain secure, with qualified witnesses and a legal notary public.

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Elaine Marshall (D)

Advanced mental health directives are one of four types of directives we have been charged with hosting. We have no real role in the contents of these documents and are only minimally funded to do the hosting. I personally promote all four in my speeches to civic, senior, and church groups but we have not been funded to undertake more. The original understanding was that advocacy groups would promote the availability of the registry.

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Question 3: What can or should be done to improve the accessibility of the Secretary of State’s website, including all of the online directories/portals?

E. C. Sykes (R)

Citizens have a right to access every resource guaranteed to them, but the Secretary’s office also has an obligation to make sure they are readily available. One idea is to link the Secretary’s resources to those of other government offices, thus increasing efficiency and making it easier to access data. The Secretary’s office should also be a leader in adopting new technological advances—the office should represent NC as a tech leader to businesses and citizens.

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Elaine Marshall (D)

I pledge to you that I will determine best practices in web accessibility and will place emphasis on it going forward. I have struggled for building accessibility for years. The Morgan Street ramp was a four year active project. The active part took so long due to poor contract and site management including many delays with the city and a flood in the basement caused by the contractor - The project is not totally completed, and we still have a long renovation list.

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Question 4: What will you do to promote employment of people with disabilities on your staff, in your agency, and through the funds you manage?

E. C. Sykes (R)

By being transparent to the public about exactly who the Secretary’s office hires, how the office’s funds are spent and managed, and what the office’s goals and objectives are. Not just the Secretary, but our state government as a whole, has a responsibility to promote employment of people with disabilities, and there is an obligation to uphold that responsibility by proving it to the public.

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Elaine Marshall (D)

I believe providing a healthy work environment is the best way to promote employment of people with disabilities. We have several staffers with various disabilities, and we have purchased appropriate equipment and furniture to meet their needs. I believe in creating a positive, comfortable work place where people can feel good about their work and services they provide to our state. Because I have very limited discretionarily funds, we applied for, received, and now manage a small amount of grant money for the U.S. Department

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Question 5: How will you ensure the services of your office are accessible to people with disabilities?

E. C. Sykes (R)

We will establish the highest standard of customer service. For people with disabilities, we will start with an audit of the systems and facilities to identify areas needing improvement. As services are upgraded, the project definition should include consideration of people with disabilities to design in access rather than added on. All citizens have the right to the services the Secretary’s office provides, and they have a right to receive them in a timely manner.

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Elaine Marshall (D)

After a ten year struggle, we are nearing the completion of a handicapped accessible entrance without having people go through a demeaning length path through the back halls of the building. We have also installed chair height counters, more automatic door openers, etc. There is still more work to be done – but it comes down to state provided financial resources.

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