Name as it appears on the ballot: Elaine Marshall

Age: 74

Party affiliation: Democrat

Campaign website:

Occupation & employer: Secretary of State, Attorney

Years lived in North Carolina: 52

1. Please tell us what in your record as a public official or private citizen demonstrates your ability to be an effective Secretary of State? Please be specific.

My service in this Secretary of State’s office is the complete answer.  I have completely reorganized the office, embraced technology, and invested in employees.  My commitment to transparency and ease of use has won our office numerous awards in technology, customer service, and in certain specific subject matter areas.  For example, I was named one of the 50 most Influential People in Notary in 50 years, received the National Notary Association – Person of the Year Award.

Last year I received the “Brand Protection Hero” Award from the National Brand Protection Alliance.  Across the years, I have received a Gold Record from the Recording Industry of America, named an Honorary Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Underwriter Lab Recognition Award, and recognition by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for law enforcement in getting harmful, dangerous counterfeit products off the street and prosecuting the criminals involved.

I have also received various awards from statewide organizations for my work in educating seniors and others about investment scams.  Obtaining lengthy prison sentences for scam artists also validates our work.

These are only a few of the achievement awards showing my effectiveness as your Secretary of State – more awards can be found at

2. How would you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am a Democrat and feminist; however, I do not allow my political philosophy to interfere with the important business at the Secretary of State’s office.  Going forward with my platform – I am strongly working for increased Broadband internet throughout our state.  I believe our rural areas and pockets of urban areas deserve the same access to education as well as medical and economic opportunities.  This should not be a political issue, but appears it has become one.  It will require a stronger will in the legislature to find ways to assist with funding and opportunities in rural counties to upgrade for a better quality of life.

3. What do you see as the most important issues facing the Secretary of State in North Carolina? If elected, how would you address those issues?

Cybersecurity is essential to maintain the free access to our cost-saving business information and to prevent business identify fraud.  From state actors to garden variety hackers we must protect this valuable asset by software investments, penetration testing, employee training, upgrades, etc.

4. Is there anything the Secretary of State could or should be doing to make information about businesses in the state more transparent or accessible? What improvements, if any, would you make to the current system? 

Absolutely.  Our database would be much more valuable for economic prosperity if we had more information about existing companies.  A simple question about a company’s federal Standard Occupation Classification (SOC) would be helpful.  Or whether or not the business has a certain state designation, e.g., woman or minority owned, would be helpful.  It would also be helpful for many economic reasons to know which companies are engaged in life sciences, food processing, software development, aerospace, fin-tech, or all the other classifications available. 

Only the legislature has the ability to change the information requested on the Annual Report used to keep the states databases up to date.  The only change in years was to finally get “Veteran Owned” as a reportable item.

One stop business services will help both the government and citizens.  I have begun efforts several times that were unsuccessful due to cost factors and the unwillingness by some to participate.

5. With the internet accounting for more and more of the state’s commerce, what can or should the Secretary of State’s office be doing to prevent fraud and deal with authentication issues? 

See number 3 above, then training in cyber forensics, investments in appropriate software and equipment and adequately paid technology and law enforcement staff.

6. Are there any other issues you would like to address that have not been covered by this questionnaire? 

The Secretary of State budget does not permit many “new ides” to come into reality.  In fact, the General Assembly does not even fully appropriate our rent.  Governor Cooper has included the rent in his budget.  The appropriation committee has included it but it gets lost when the budget is finally put together.  All our receipts go into the General Fund, we can retain nothing to provide services.

Comment on this questionnaire at

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