Honorable Shenna Bellows
Maine's 50th Secretary of State
Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is Maine’s 50th Secretary of State, sworn into her first two-year term in the position on Jan. 4, 2021. Secretary Bellows is Maine’s first female Secretary of State.
Secretary Bellows previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020, representing 11 towns in southern Kennebec County. In the Maine Senate, she served as Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee. She was a chair of the bipartisan Broadband Caucus. She was a 2020 presidential elector in the Electoral College.
During her tenure as a Maine Senator, Secretary Bellows’ notable legislative accomplishments included passage of a first-in-the-nation internet privacy law that prohibits internet service providers from selling or sharing customer information without consent; creation of an online application system for school meals; and expanded access to broadband for rural communities. Secretary Bellows also championed automatic voter registration, elections audits, ranked-choice voting and the national popular vote. She was an original member of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting, promoting this new method of voting and traveling across the State to educate Mainers.
She is also an advocate for increased cybersecurity in elections, speaking on the issue as a panelist at the USC Election Cybersecurity Initiative in June 2020. She was also a speaker on internet privacy at the Privacy and Cybersecurity Policy Academy at the National Council of State Governments National Conference in 2019. She opposed the implementation of Real ID due to privacy concerns and worked closely with former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap to advocate for an opt-out option for Maine citizens. Privacy and government transparency continue to be key concerns for Secretary Bellows.
Secretary Bellows most recently led the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as executive director from 2018 to 2020, where she operated the museum with archival materials and artifacts.
Previously, she owned Bellows & Company, a non-profit consulting business, where she worked with organizations such as the Sierra Club’s Maine Chapter, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare and the Maine Women’s Lobby. She also served as interim executive director of LearningWorks, where she oversaw an organizational transition as well as a major facilities renovation project. In 2014, Secretary Bellows was the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Maine.
From 2005 to 2013, Secretary Bellows was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. She was a member of the first Right to Know Advisory Committee and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. She served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 ballot campaigns to pass marriage equality in Maine, and co-chaired a successful 2011 statewide Protect Maine Votes ballot campaign to restore same-day voter registration. She also served as a founding member of the Maine Immigrants Rights Coalition, and as a member of the Maine Choice Coalition and Coalition for Maine Women.
Currently, Secretary Bellows is serving on the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Elections Committee, Cybersecurity Committee, Awards Committee, and International Relations Committee. She was a member of the bipartisan 2021 NASS Task Force on Vote Verification. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the NASS Business Services Committee. She is also serving as co-chair of The Council of State Governments (CSG) 2021-2022 Healthy States National Task Force Civic Health Subcommittee. Additionally, she is a member of the University of Maine at Augusta Board of Visitors.
Secretary Bellows grew up in Hancock and is a graduate of Ellsworth High School. She holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. She volunteered with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville, Tennessee. She is also a graduate of the Emerge Maine program, the Institute for Civic Leadership in Portland and the Yale Campaign School for Women.
Secretary Bellows lives with her husband, Brandon, in Manchester.
Historical List of Secretaries of State, 1820-present - Provided by the Law and Legislative Reference Library.